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US orders departure of non-emergency government personnel from Niger

Scripps News has confirmed that the U.S. has suspended military cooperation with the Nigerien military.
US ready for 'ordered departure' from Niger, under forced protection
Posted at 2:54 PM, Aug 02, 2023

U.S. embassy personnel are preparing for an "ordered departure" from Niger, Scripps News confirmed. 

The State Department released a statement on Wednesday saying that non-emergency personnel in Niger, along with eligible family members, would temporarily depart the U.S. Embassy in the capital city Niamey.

The agency said the U.S. Embassy there would remain open for limited, emergency services for U.S. citizens.  Scripps News previously reported that U.S. troops had been restricted to their bases and were placed under forced protection. 

U.S. troops suspended their cooperation with the Nigerien military, and a military junta in Niger demanded that all drone operations cease. 

According to intelligence reports, it is believed that the junta in power now could take foreign hostages to use as human shields in a potential conflict. 

SEE MORE: Niger's presidential guard mounts apparent coup attempt

Niger, in West Africa, recently transitioned its government to a democracy and has been a significant recipient of U.S. aid dollars. 

In late June, Scripps News reported that armed members of Niger's presidential guard staged an attempted coup by surrounding the presidential palace and detaining Niger's President Mohamed Bazoum. 

The rebelling soldiers reportedly tried to gain support from other security services. A tweet from Niger's presidential account said the country's army and national guard were still opposed to the rebel forces and "ready to attack" if the situation continued. 

U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken spoke to President Bazoum over the phone at the time. The State Department said it has "unwavering support" for "Bazoum and Niger’s democracy."

The U.S. State Department said in a previous statement, "The United States stands with the Nigerien people and regional and international partners in condemning this effort to seize power by force and overturn the constitutional order."

Recently confirmed U.S. Ambassador Kathleen FitzGibbon has been sent to Niamey. The State Department advised all U.S. citizens in Niger to limit their movements when traveling around Niamey. Anyone eligible for U.S. help in departing the country were referred to the U.S. Embassy's website

Sasha Ingber at Scripps News contributed to this report. 

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