The first French nationals evacuated from Niger arrived at Charles-de-Gaulle Airport (CDG) in Paris in the early hours of August 2, 2023, as the political situation in the African nation remains tense.
The evacuation came in the aftermath of the coup d’état against Niger President Mohamed Bazoum, which occurred on July 26, 2023. Following the closure of the country’s airspace and an attack on France’s embassy, French citizens in Niger were warned on August 1, 2023, in a message sent by their embassy that they would be airlifted out of Niamey, the country’s capital city.
Three Airbus A330s including two Multi Role Tanker Transport (MRTT) and one Lockheed Martin C-130J Super Hercules were deployed. They landed at the French Air Base 101 Niamey, located on the territory of Diori Hamani International Airport (NIM).
The first A330 flight, which took off from Niamey to CDG at 20:20 local time, carried a total of 262 passengers, French Minister for Europe and Foreign Affairs Catherine Colonna said in a tweet. While the majority were French citizens, it also included several European nationals such as Belgians and Portuguese.
Two more flights are expected to take place on August 2, 2023. A spokesperson of the French Ministry of Foreign Affairs informed AeroTime that the evacuation operation for French citizens in Niger will continue until at least the evening.
Over a thousand French citizens are registered as residents of Niger. However, considering the ongoing summer holidays, it is expected that approximately half may be present in the country at this time.