In response to the coup that took place on July 26 in Niger, the United States has given the order to evacuate its embassy in the country partially. Hundreds of foreigners have already been taken out of the country, and protesters stormed the French embassy on Sunday. Gen. Abdourahamane Tchiani, who led the coup, said that any interruption in the internal affairs of the country would not be allowed. However, Niger is a major producer of uranium and a crucial transit point for people travelling between North Africa and the Mediterranean.
According to the US state department, Secretary of State Antony Blinken met with Niger overthrown President Mohamed Bazoum on Wednesday and reaffirmed their support for the return of the country’s democratically elected governance. Despite the partial evacuation, according to Spokesperson Matthew Miller, the country’s embassy in the capital city of Niamey will continue to function normally. He assured that they are not leaving the people of the country or their relationship with them and that they are continuing their diplomatic engagement with the country at the highest levels.
Many nations have ceased their support for the country.
Previously, the US had warned that the coup might lead to discontinuing all cooperation with them, despite the fact that it is a significant contributor of humanitarian and security aid to Niger. France, the country’s former colonial power, and the European Union have also ceased all financial and development help to the country. All trade with the country has been banned, and the country’s assets in the regional central bank have been frozen after sanctions were imposed by the Economic Community of West African States (Ecowas), a trading bloc comprising 15 West African countries.
More so, on Wednesday, Gen. Tchiani made a televised address in which he said that the new leadership completely rejected these restrictions and would not succumb to any threat, no matter where it came from. He called the sanctions “cynical and iniquitous” and declared they would “humiliate” Niger’s armed forces while rendering the country unruly. However, on Wednesday, the military heads from the Ecowas gathered in Nigeria to discuss the possibility of a military intervention, which they stressed would be the last resort.
Protesters storm the French embassy in Niamey, supports Russia.
On the other hand, Gen. Tchiani, who had previously served as the chief of the presidential guard under Mr. Bazoum, seized power on July 26, declaring that he did so because he wanted to prevent the gradual and inevitability of Niger’s collapse. Massive demonstrations have been organised in opposition to France, which continues to be a significant partner, and in support of Russia, whose influence in West and Central Africa has expanded over the past several years.
Hundreds of people gathered on Sunday outside of the French embassy in Niamey, with several of them shouting “Long live Russia,” “Long live Putin,” and also “Down with France.” In addition to that, they set fire to the embassy compound wall. A total of 262 people were brought to safety in Paris by the French government through the use of evacuation flights. A flight operated by Italy and carrying 87 passengers also landed in Rome simultaneously.
France and the United States also have military bases in the country.
During his speech, General Tchiani stated that French citizens living in Niger have never been put in even the slightest threat. Niger is an important Western partner in the fight against jihadist extremism in the Sahel. France and the United States also have military bases in Niger. After military commanders in the neighbouring country of Mali made the decision in 2021 to join forces with the Russian Wagner mercenary group, France relocated the centre of its regional anti-terror operations to the country.