US Embassy in Niger partially evacuated after military takeover, Blinken says

Niger Coup Unrest

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Secretary of State Antony Blinken announced late Wednesday that the State Department had ordered a temporary departure of non-emergency personnel and eligible family members from Niger from the U.S. embassy in Niamey. 

“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,” he wrote in an X, formerly known as a tweet.

In a post, the department said the temporary departure was ordered “given ongoing developments” in the country and “out of an abundance of caution.” 

“Commercial flight options are limited.  We updated our travel advisory to reflect this and informed U.S. citizens that we are only able to provide emergency assistance to U.S. citizens in Niger given our reduced personnel,” it said. 

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Niger coup supporters demonstrate

Coup supporters unfurl a Russian flag as they take to the streets after the army seized power in Niamey, Niger on July 30, 2023.  (Balima Boureima/Anadolu Agency via Getty Images)

People wait to evacuate Niger

French soldiers and citizens of European countries are seen outside the Diori Hamani International Airport in Niamey on Aug. 2, 2023. The first planes carrying French and other European citizens evacuated from Niger landed in Paris Wednesday, a week after a coup toppled one of the last pro-Western leaders in the jihadist-plagued Sahel. (STANISLAS POYET/AFP via Getty Images)

The embassy remains open for limited, emergency services to U.S. citizens – routine consular services are suspended – and the department said would continue to provide information to U.S. citizens in the area.

U.S. citizens interested in leaving the country and those requiring assistance were told to register via an assistance request form on the embassy’s website.

The State Department said U.S. citizens in Niger were advised to “limit unnecessary movements around Niamey,” and that America remains committed to Nigerien democracy, remaining diplomatically engaged at the highest levels.  

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U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken speaks

Secretary of State Antony Blinken speaks at the launch of the Bureau of Global Health Security and Diplomacy, in the Dean Acheson Auditorium of the State Department in Washington, D.C., on Aug. 1, 2023.  (SAUL LOEB/AFP via Getty Images)

U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken (L) meets with Niger President Mohamed Bazoum

Secretary of State Antony Blinken (L) meets with Niger President Mohamed Bazoum (R) in Niamey, Niger on March 16, 2023.  (Presidency of Niger / Handout/Anadolu Agency via Getty Images)

“Commercial flight options are limited.  We updated our travel advisory to reflect this and informed U.S. citizens that we are only able to provide emergency assistance to U.S. citizens in Niger given our reduced personnel,” it said. 

Pentagon press secretary, Brig. Gen. Pat Ryder, reportedly said late Wednesday that the department had not requested U.S. military assistance for the departure.

Blinken wrote on the social media platform later that he had spoken with Nigerien President Mohamed Bazoum to reiterate that the U.S. “remains committed to the restoration of Niger’s democratically-elected government, and that his and his family’s safety are paramount.”

“The United States is dedicated to finding a peaceful resolution that ensures that Niger remains a strong partner in security and development in the region,” the State Department said. 

Last week, soldiers ousted the country’s democratically elected president. 

Abdourahmane Tchiani and other army commanders

Abdourahmane Tchiani and other army commanders held a meeting in the capital, Niamey, Niger on July 28, 2023. Gen. Abdourahmane Tchiani, the head of Nigerâs presidential guard, appeared on national television on Friday and declared himself the new leader of the country after a coup.  (Balima Boureima/Anadolu Agency via Getty Images)

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Niger’s new military ruler, Gen. Abdourahmane Tchiani, warned Wednesday against foreign meddling and military intervention in a nationally televised speech. He called on the population to be ready to defend the nation.

“We therefore call on the people of Niger as a whole and their unity to defeat all those who want to inflict unspeakable suffering on our hard-working populations and destabilize our country,” he said.

Tchiani pledged to create the conditions for a peaceful transition to elections following his ousting of President Mohamed Bazoum.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

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