The decade's most triggering comedy
The U.S. moved on Wednesday to partially evacuate its embassy in Niger as military leaders have seized power in the country, moving to remove President Mohamed Bazoum from office.
Soldiers installed General Abdourahmane Tchiani as president after Nigerian military leaders announced on July 26 that security concerns in the West African nation had led them to assert their control. In the aftermath of the coup, Europeans and Americans have left the country, and the State Department has told Americans to no longer travel there.
“Today, we ordered the temporary departure of non-emergency personnel and eligible family members from Niger. The U.S. is committed to our relationship with the people of Niger. The embassy remains open, and our leaders are diplomatically engaged at the highest levels,” Secretary of State Antony Blinken announced.
In another statement from the State Department, the U.S. voiced its opposition to the coup.
“The United States rejects all efforts to overturn Niger’s constitutional order, and stands with the people of Niger, the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS), the African Union, and other international partners in support of democratic governance and respect for the rule of law and human rights,” the statement said.
The Biden administration has demanded that Bazoum be released but has reportedly avoided referring to the takeover as a “coup” partly because of the $200 million in economic aid the U.S. sent Niger.
Nearby Guinea, Mali, and Burkina Faso have backed Niger’s new leadership. Mali and Burkina Faso said that any “military intervention” against Niger would constitute an act of war against them.
France, which used to control Niger, condemned the coup, moving to evacuate hundreds of French nationals from the country.
A group of 13 Texans was on a mission trip in Niger when they were evacuated this week after getting a ride with an Italian evacuation flight arranged in part by U.S. officials.
“The tireless dedication of the church community and the prayers of countless individuals have borne fruit as the missionary team embarked on their journey back home from Niger. Last night, the Lord’s divine providence opened a way for the team’s homeward journey, marking a joyful moment of triumph and celebration for the entire congregation,” said Harmony Hill Baptist Church, who sent the mission team, in a statement.
The U.S. has more than 1,000 troops stationed in Niger, which has struggled to contain radical Islamic violence over the last several years.