US Orders Partial Embassy Evacuation in Niger

Though the mission will remain open
By Evann Gastaldo,  Newser Staff
Posted Aug 3, 2023 1:47 AM CDT
US Orders Partial Embassy Evacuation in Niger
With the headquarters of the ruling party burning in the back, supporters of mutinous soldiers demonstrate in Niamey, Niger, Thursday, July 27 2023.   (AP Photo/Fatahoulaye Hassane Midou)

With coup leaders in Niger refusing to back down and the French embassy in the country having been attacked Sunday, the United States has ordered some of the staff of its embassy in the country to be evacuated. "Given ongoing developments in Niger and out of an abundance of caution, the Department of State is ordering the temporary departure of non-emergency US government personnel and eligible family members from the US embassy in Niamey," a state department spokesperson said in a statement. Senior leadership will continue working, however, and the embassy will remain open, the BBC reports. Secretary of State Antony Blinken told Niger's ousted president that the US is committed to seeing the democratically elected government restored to power, but the junta has refused to reinstate President Mohamed Bazoum, the Guardian reports.

Meanwhile, neighboring countries are ramping up pressure on coup leaders to back down, with the Economic Community of West African States imposing sanctions on the country including a freeze on assets, and warning that the use of force might be authorized if Bazoum is not restored to the presidency by Sunday. France and the EU have suspended financial and development aid to Niger, and the US has warned it may follow suit. With Niger a key ally to the West in the fight against jihadist extremism, some fear the coup could be a boon to militants. (Niger is part of an Africa-wide "coup belt.")

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