First group of British nationals evacuated from Niger after military coup

Foreign Secretary James Cleverly confirmed in a tweet that the evacuation process was carried out safely.

The first group of British nationals has been evacuated from Niger after a military coup took place in the African state, the Foreign Secretary has said.

James Cleverly confirmed in a tweet that the evacuation process was carried out safely.

Violence has broken out in the west African country after soldiers detained President Mohamed Bazoum and seized power last week.

France, Italy and Spain have already started evacuating their citizens on flights.

Mr Cleverly said: “The first group of British nationals have now safely left Niger.

“To resolve the situation in Niger, the UK is clear in our support of an African and ECOWAS (Economic Community of West African States) led resolution.

“This week I’ve spoken with the Presidents of Ghana and Nigeria to support this.”

The tweet was accompanied by a video, in which Mr Cleverly said: “I’m here in Nigeria. I just had a meeting with the Nigerian president.

“And a couple of days ago I had a meeting with the Ghanaian president. Obviously we discussed the situation in Niger.

“The UK Government’s priority remains the safety of British nationals and helping them get out of the country to safety.”

Mr Cleverly is currently on a three-country, four-day tour in Africa. He has already visited Ghana and Nigeria and will visit Zambia on Thursday.

Niger, a French colony until 1960, had been seen as one of the region’s last democracies and a partner Western countries could work with to beat back the jihadi violence that has wracked the Sahel region.

On Sunday, ECOWAS said it would use force unless the president was released and reinstated within a week.

But juntas in neighbouring Mali, Burkina Faso and Guinea, also former French colonies, warned any forcible intervention would be seen as a declaration of war.

Mr Bazoum was democratically elected two years ago in Niger’s first peaceful transfer of power since independence from France.

Russian mercenary group Wagner is operating in Mali, and Russia’s President Vladimir Putin would like to expand his country’s influence in the region.

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