Spain, France and Italy are preparing to evacuate their citizens from Niger after the coup that has put the military in command of the African country.
The Spanish Ministry of Foreign Affairs is finalizing the evacuation of the more than 70 Spanish citizens located in Niger.
For its part, the French Foreign Ministry has announced that the evacuation operation of its nationals will begin this Tuesday and that other European citizens may join it.
“Given the situation in Niamey, the acts of violence perpetrated the day before yesterday [on Sunday] against our embassy and the closure of airspace, which leaves our compatriots without the possibility of leaving by their own means, France is preparing the evacuation of its nationals and European citizens who wish to leave the country. This evacuation will begin today,” the ministry said in a statement.
The number of French citizens currently in Niger amounts to between 500 and 600 people , according to French media.
In an interview on BFMTV television broadcast on Monday, the French Foreign Minister, Catherine Colonna , reiterated the call for the reinstatement of the ousted president, Mohamed Bazoum , and denied that France is preparing a military intervention .
France, the former colonial power of Niger, maintains a contingent of 1,500 soldiers in that country to support the fight against jihadism. There are also military from the US, Germany and Italy, among others. At the moment, no reports have been made of the withdrawal of military contingents.
France also has strong interests in the uranium mining sector , which it uses as fuel for its nuclear power plants. The French nuclear fuel company Orano has ensured that its activities will not be affected, as 99% of its staff are local.
A spokesman for the European Commission has stated that the bloc’s countries have sufficient uranium reserves for three years, so that a possible interruption of supply from Niger will not have immediate consequences.
For their part, the Italian authorities have also announced that they are going to make a “special flight” available to their citizens .
“The Italian Government has decided to offer our fellow citizens in Niamey the possibility of leaving the city on a special flight to Italy,” said the Vice President of the Italian Government and Minister of Foreign Affairs, Antonio Tajani, on his social networks .
It is estimated that one hundred Italian civilians live in Niger , and Italy has about 350 military personnel there.
The Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) has threatened the coup leaders in Niger with military intervention to return President Bazoum to power. For their part, the military juntas of Mali and Burkina Faso have warned that they will support the Nigerien military if ECOWAS intervenes.
The coup d’état is headed by a military junta, calling itself the National Council for the Safeguarding of the Homeland (CLSP), which announced the removal of the president, the suspension of institutions, the closure of the borders and a night curfew until further notice. order.