The Indian authorities issued an advisory whereby it requested its nationals dwelling in Niger to leave the nation as soon as potential on August 11, 2023. The Ministry of External Affairs (India) has requested Indian nationals to register with the Indian Embassy in Niamey, the capital of Niger.
Addressing the media, the spokesperson of the Ministry of External Affairs (MEA), Arindam Bagchi, stated, “The government of India is closely monitoring the ongoing developments and situation 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 at present, the airspace is currently closed. When departing through the land border, utmost precaution may be taken to ensure safety and security. Those who may be planning to travel to Niger in the coming days are also advised to reconsider their plans until the situation normalises,” he added. He additional stated that there are a complete of 250 Indian residents in Niger,
“We want all of them to register. We have been told that they are safe Our embassy is trying to facilitate logistics for them to leave the country,” he stated. Bagchi additional famous that the airspace is shut, and it’s troublesome to journey via land borders. “But we are doing all we can, he added.
The Coup in Niger
Niger has been engulfed in political chaos since the last month when the democratic regime was overthrown and the President ousted in a coup.
On July 26, 2023, the members of the presidential guard of Niger announced on national television that they had ousted Mohammed Bazoum, the president of the country. A few days later, General Abdourahamane Tchiani, who served as the head of the presidential guard, took over as the leader of Niger’s military junta.
This uncertainty has rattled the residents in Niamey, the capital. Some of them flocked to supermarkets to purchase staples like rice and, grain, cooking oil in bulk, while others attempted to flee. The employees of the local bus services and companies said most of the lines outside the capital were fully booked.
The reasons for the military takeover are attributed to weak governance, corruption and ethnic clashes under the tenure and regime of Mohammad Bazoum. The takeover has been justified through the pretext of instability.
Impact and Reaction
The coup has drawn strong opposition from regional powers. The Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS), a coalition of West African nations, have called on the junta leaders to restore democratic governance, even threatening to use force. However, the deadline has passed without action, given that the other military-led regimes near Niger, such as Burkina Faso and Mali, threatened to back Niger’s military junta in battle.
The already complicated situation has been further exacerbated by domestic unrest, with various groups mobilising against the coup leaders in Niger. The ECOWAS nations have decided to freeze the assets of Niger in their commercial and central banks. They have instituted a no-fly zone for commercial flights leaving Niger.
The neighbouring nation of Ivory Coast and its president Alassane Ouattara had said after the ECOWAS meeting that his country would take part in the military operation along with Nigeria and Benin.
“Ivory Coast will provide a battalion and has made all the financial arrangements. We are determined to install Bazoum in his position. Our objective is peace and stability in the sub-region,” the AP quoted Ouattara as saying on state tv.
However, the pro-junta protestors in the meantime gathered at a 30,000-seated stadium in Niamey to voice their assist for the army authorities and opposition to ECOWAS sanctions.