Amidst escalating violence in Niger, the Indian government issued an advisory on Friday for Indian residents within the turmoil-stricken African nation to depart at the earliest opportunity.
Arindam Bagchi, the spokesperson for the Ministry of External Affairs, stated, “In light of the prevailing situation, Indian nationals whose presence is not essential are advised to leave the country as soon as possible.” He emphasised that the airspace is presently closed. When making an exit via a land border, utmost care must be taken to ensure personal safety and security, Bagchi further conveyed.
“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. 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 normalises,” said MEA.
Presently, there are approximately 250 Indian expatriates residing in Niger, which has been engulfed in widespread protests and turmoil subsequent to last month’s coup.
The Ministry of External Affairs has also suggested that individuals considering travel to Niger should reconsider their plans until the situation stabilises. Bagchi underscored the necessity for all Indian nationals in Niger who haven’t registered with the Indian Embassy in Niamey to do so promptly.
“Indian nationals can reach emergency contact in the Embassy of India, Niamey (+ 227 9975 9975) for any assistance,” he added.
The military takeover in Niger has garnered condemnation from the United Nations, the European Union, and the African Union. Several European nations have already evacuated their citizens from Niger.
On July 26, General Abdourahmane Tchiani seized control in Niger, overthrowing President Mohamed Bazoum in a coup. In the aftermath of the coup, 62-year-old Gen Tchiani proclaimed himself as the leader of the ‘National Council for the Safeguard of the Homeland’.
Similar to Mali and Burkina Faso, Niger is grappling with a ruthless jihadist insurgency that has resulted in numerous casualties, displacement of citizens, and eroded trust in governance.
Niger has now become the fifth African nation to experience a coup in under three years, following in the footsteps of its neighbouring countries – Mali, Guinea, Chad, and Burkina Faso. This incident also marks the fourth instance of a coup within the country since it gained independence from France in 1960.
Niger is confronted with the unfortunate challenge of a dual jihadist insurgency, originating both in its southwest and from militants infiltrating the southeast.
The prevailing uncertainty has triggered unease among Niamey’s residents, the capital city. Some individuals hurried to supermarkets to stock up on essential items like rice and cooking oil, while others endeavoured to leave the area. Employees of local bus companies indicated that most routes departing from the capital were fully reserved, as reported by CNN.
Within the bustling Wadata market, situated to the east of the city’s core, numerous shoppers purchasing groceries and daily necessities on Monday expressed their concerns about the potential outcomes.
In a contrasting scenario, supporters of the military junta assembled on Sunday at a stadium with a capacity of 30,000 in Niamey. Their gathering aimed to demonstrate backing for the military administration and to express their opposition to sanctions imposed by the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS), as reported by CNN.