More than a week after Niger experienced a military coup, the United States made a decision on Wednesday to carry out a partial evacuation of its embassy in the delicate West African country. The State Department issued an advisory clarifying that while the embassy will remain operational and senior officials will continue their work, non-emergency personnel are being temporarily evacuated.
“On August 2, 2023, the Department ordered the departure of non-emergency US government employees and eligible family members from Embassy Niamey,” an updated US travel advisory for Niger said.
“The US Embassy in Niamey has temporarily reduced its personnel, suspended routine services, and is only able to provide emergency assistance to US citizens in Niger,” the advisory added.
State Department spokesperson Matthew Miller said the US remained committed to their relationship with the people of Niger and to Nigerien democracy and that Washington remained diplomatically engaged. Miller, however, condemned the military coup.
“The United States rejects all efforts to overturn Niger’s constitutional order, and stands with the people of Niger…in support of democratic governance and respect for the rule of law and human rights.”
Currently, there are about 1,000 troops stationed in Niger, operating from two bases and helping ousted President Mohamed Bazoum combat against the military.
In the recent past, Washington has been criticised for its botched evacuation of embassy staffers and troops from conflict-ridden countries. White House received a lot of flak for its handling of the evacuation of US citizens from Sudan when violence erupted between the military and the Rapid Support Forces paramilitary group.
Similarly, in Afghanistan, after the Taliban took over the country, the US conducted a haphazard final-minute evacuation operation where citizens and embassy staffers just about managed to escape in the nick of time.