Skip to content

Protesters hold an anti-France placard during a demonstration on independence day in Niamey, Niger, on 3 August 2023. Security concerns built ahead of planned protests in coup-hit Niger, with France demanding safety guarantees for foreign embassies as some Western nations reduced their diplomatic presence. (Photo by AFP via Getty Images)

Continued Coup in Niger Initiates Evacuations From Embassies

A week after Niger’s presidential administration announced that members of the presidential guard were attempting a coup, the United States joined other nations in ordering an evacuation of its respective citizens from the country.

The U.S. Department of State announced a partial evacuation order on 2 August, specific to non-emergency U.S. embassy personnel and their families. The order came after the Pentagon said it “suspended security cooperation with military forces in Niger”—indicating that fading hope that the coup could be reversed and the democratically elected Mohamed Bazoum could be reinstated, according to The Washington Post.

On 26 July, mutinous members of the presidential guard tried to move against Bazoum, reportedly held him and his family inside the presidential palace, and dispersed the president’s supporters from the palace’s grounds.

Along with the United States, the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS), the African Union, France, the European Union, and the United Nations all condemned the attempted coup d’etat. However, the coup received vocal support from three other West African nations, ones also ruled by military powers that overthrew previous rulers.

By the end of the day, a Niger army spokesman said that the country’s borders were closed, all institutions were suspended, and a nationwide curfew was effective.

“The unfolding crisis, if not addressed, will exacerbate the deteriorating security situation in the region. It will also negatively impact the development and lives of the population in a country where 4.3 million people need humanitarian assistance,” said UN secretary-general’s special representative Léonardo Santos Simão. Simão is head of the UN Office in West Africa and the Sahel.

The United States and France did not immediately explicitly say they were withdrawing security cooperation with Niger’s military, as the nation “has become a point of stability in the Sahel region of Africa, which faces a significant fight against terrorists and Islamist extremists, and is a key partner to the U.S., serving as a base for hundreds of U.S. troops to assist with counterterrorism missions,” CNN reported.

ECOWAS—a bloc consisting of 15 nations—said that if Bazoum was not reinstated by 6 August, it would consider any necessary measures to bring “constitutional order” back to Niger, according to Al Jazeera.  

With tensions rising as the deadline approaches and incidents of violence in the capital city of Niamey, Western nations began ordering evacuations from Niger for their citizens.

“France, Italy, and Spain all announced evacuations from Niger for their citizens and other European nationals, concerned that they risked becoming trapped by the coup,” the Associated Press reported. “…About 600 French nationals wanted to leave, along with 400 people of other nationalities from Belgians to Danish, French officials said.”

Evacuations were coordinated with the current Niger leadership.

For more about mass evacuation procedures and best practices, read Security Management's coverage from earlier this year.