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India issues advisory for its citizens in Niger as political turmoil deepens after military coup

Image Source : ANI Ministry of External Affairs spokesperson Arindam Bagchi

The Ministry of External Affairs (MEA) on Friday issued an advisory for Indian nationals living in military-controlled Niger and asked those whose presence is not needed there to leave the country, following a military coup that has attracted sanctions and the threat of military intervention.

MEA spokesperson Arindam Bagchi at a media briefing on Friday said that Centre is closely monitoring the situations and asked people planning to go to Niamey to reconsider their travel plans.

“Government of India is closely monitoring ongoing developments in Niger. In light of the prevailing situation, Indian nationals whose presence is not essential are advised to leave the country as soon as possible. They may bear in mind that airspace is currently closed,” the MEA spokesperson said.

“When departing through a land border, utmost precautions may be taken to ensure safety and security. Those who may be planning travel to Niger in the coming days are also similarly advised to reconsider their travel plans until the situation normalizes,” further said Bagchi.

He also urgent advised citizens in Niger to register themselves with the Indian embassy in Niamey, if they haven’t done so. “About 250 Indians are there. MEA is requesting those who have not registered their names to the Indian embassy to register themselves. Indian Embassy in Niamey is in touch with the Indian communities and we have been told that they are safe,” he added.

The July 26 coup, in which mutinous soldiers installed Gen. Abdourahmane Tchiani as head of state and overthrew President Mohamed Bazoum, adds another layer of complexity to West Africa’s Sahel region that’s struggling with military takeovers, spreading Islamic extremism and a shift by some states toward Russia and its proxy, the Wagner mercenary group.

Since then, the country has been embroiled in political chaos, as the military has strongly positioned itself against Western military intervention, in spite of sanctions and added impoverishment of citizens. 

Several people flocked to supermarkets to purchase staples like rice and cooking oil in bulk, while others attempted to flee. Employees of local bus companies said most lines out of the capital were fully booked, as per some reports.

Meanwhile, the Nigerien military junta have threatened to kill ousted President Mohamed Bazoum if neighbouring countries attempt a military intervention in the country to reinstate his rule, according to Western officials. 

This comes after the 15-member regional bloc in West Africa, known as Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) on Thursday directed the deployment of a ‘standby force’ to restore Bazoum’s presidency and democracy in the country.

(with ANI inputs)

ALSO READ | Niger coup leaders threatened to kill President Bazoum if military intervention happens: Officials

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