Niger: UK nationals arrive in France following evacuation

Red Cross workers take care of people evacuated from Niger at the Roissy Charles de Gaulle airport, north of Paris, France.
Red Cross workers take care of people evacuated from Niger at the Roissy Charles de Gaulle airport, north of Paris, France. Credit: AP

A group of British nationals have safely arrived in France after they were evacuated from Niger following a military coup in the West African country.

Deputy Prime Minister Oliver Dowden said 14 Britons were on the French flight on Wednesday.

The Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office (FCDO) on Thursday confirmed their arrival in Paris.

FCDO officials remain in Niger to support the “very small number” of British nationals still there.

Security concerns have led to the British embassy in Niamey temporarily reducing the number of its staff, the FCDO added.

Violence has broken out in Niger after soldiers detained President Mohamed Bazoum and seized power last week.

Niger’s ruling junta and civil society groups have called on people to mobilise in the capital on Thursday to fight for the country’s freedom and reject foreign interference.

The march falls on the day the country marks its independence from its former colonial ruler, France, and the FCDO said protests “can be violent and the situation could change quickly without warning”.

The FCDO tweeted: “A group of British nationals left Niger on a French flight last night. They were met in Paris by British and French teams.

“We’ve worked closely with @francediplo (France Diplomatie) to support the evacuation, and are grateful for their help.

“UK Ambassador @CMInglehearn (Catherine Inglehearn) and a core team are on the ground in Niger to support the very small number of British nationals still there.”

Supporters of Niger's ruling junta, protesting for the country's freedom and push back against foreign interference

Mr Dowden told LBC’s Nick Ferrari: “There was a successful evacuation undertaken by the French overnight.

“A limited number of British nationals – there’s not actually that many British nationals in Niger – but about 14 were evacuated last night.

“And our advice continues to be if you’re there and need assistance getting out, get in touch with the embassy, we still have staff on the ground and we will work to provide that assistance.”

Several European countries announced the evacuation of their citizens as tension increased in the capital and elsewhere.

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