France has begun evacuating its citizens from Niger following last week’s military coup, with the first plane transporting more than 260 people from the capital Niamey, said a top French official.
French Foreign Minister Catherine Colonna on social media on Tuesday evening that another plane was scheduled to leave later in the night, and a third plane was reportedly also being made available.
France said it was getting out its citizens following the closure of Niger’s airspace, which risks leaving people trapped in the country, and had offered to evacuate people from other European countries as well.
Other European countries were also looking to evacuate their citizens in the wake of the unrest.
There had also been violent protests in support of the military coup which saw officers from General Omar Tchiani’s elite unit ousting President Mohamed Bazoum last Wednesday.
Demonstrators gathered in front of the French embassy and reportedly tore down the embassy plaque, trampled on it and replaced it with Nigerien and Russian flags.