The US is planning to evacuate some of its staff and families from its embassy in Niger after military troops took authority there, according to a US official, even though the mission will stay open and top leadership will continue to function from there.
In the war against Islamist rebels, Niger is an important Western ally. Foreign nations have decried the seizure, saying that it will give the terrorists an advantage.
According to an anonymous spokesperson, a final decision was still pending, but it seemed probable.
“This is a prudent move in case the security situation deteriorates, and the core embassy staff will remain,” added the official.
The individual went on to say that US officials will be flown out of Niger using State Department-chartered aircraft rather than military planes.
State Department spokesman Matthew Miller did not confirm the evacuation of workers but said Washington was watching developments on the ground and would prioritize the protection of US citizens and government officials.
“The US embassy in Niamey is open and will remain open,” Miller said during a press conference. “We remain committed to the people of Niger and our relationship with them, and we maintain high-level diplomatic engagement.” That will be the case in the future.”
France, the United States, Germany, and Italy have soldiers in Niger on counterinsurgency and training operations, assisting the army in combating al Qaeda and Islamic State-linked forces.
Europeans are being evacuated from Niger by France and Italy.
So far, no indication of a military withdrawal has been made. There are around 1,100 US personnel in Niger, where the US military has two locations.
The US was chastised for its handling of the evacuation of US citizens in Sudan after a sudden outbreak of violence on April 15 between the military and the well-armed Rapid Support Forces paramilitary group turned residential areas into war zones and forced hundreds of thousands of people to flee.
Due to security concerns, Washington removed all federal workers from the US Embassy in Khartoum and ceased operations there.
However, US citizens had difficulty exiting the nation amid the unrest and were subjected to theft and looting.
At the time, the Biden administration said that US military planes were not necessary to evacuate residents because there was ample room aboard planes travelling in and out of the nation.