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France Undertakes Massive Evacuation Effort from Niger Amidst Political Turmoil

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As Niger grapples with the aftermath of an attempted coup and political instability, French authorities have taken swift action to evacuate their nationals from the country. The unfolding crisis has prompted concerns for the safety and well-being of foreign citizens, leading to a series of evacuation flights. With hundreds of French nationals expressing their desire to return home, the evacuation efforts have become a race against time to ensure the safety of those seeking repatriation.

Overnight from Tuesday to Wednesday, two Air Force Airbus A330s were deployed to facilitate the evacuation of French nationals from Niger. The first aircraft, carrying 262 passengers, touched down at Paris-Roissy Charles de Gaulle airport shortly after 1:30 a.m. (23:30 GMT). Among the passengers were approximately a dozen babies, highlighting the urgency of the situation for families caught in the turmoil, according to French authorities.

A second evacuation flight followed shortly before 5 a.m., signaling the determination of French authorities to bring their citizens back home safely.

The primary focus of the evacuation was to repatriate French citizens stranded in Niger. According to Catherine Colonna, the Minister of Foreign Affairs, the vast majority of passengers on the first plane were French nationals. However, other nationalities were also part of the evacuation effort. The flight accommodated Portuguese, Belgians, Ethiopians, and Lebanese individuals. Similarly, the second flight accommodated French, Nigeriens, Germans, Belgians, Canadians, Americans, Austrians, and Indians.

The situation in Niger has prompted many French citizens to seek evacuation, with around half of the 1,200 French nationals registered on consular lists expressing their desire to return to France.

 

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