A first French plane carrying 262 repatriates from Niger landed in Paris on Tuesday night. At the same time, one of the coup leaders who took power in Niger announced on national television the reopening of land and air borders with five neighboring countries. Follow our live updates.
The land and air borders of Niger with five neighboring countries have been reopened, nearly a week after they were closed during a coup that overthrew elected President Mohamed Bazoum, one of the coup leaders announced on national television on Tuesday, August 2.
“The land and air borders with Algeria, Burkina Faso, Libya, Mali, and Chad are reopened” as of “today,” he said, a few hours after the first evacuation of French citizens and five days before the deadline set by West African countries to restore constitutional order.
1:47 AM: French plane carrying 262 repatriates from Niger lands in Paris
A first French plane carrying 262 people evacuated from Niger landed at Paris-Roissy Charles de Gaulle airport shortly after 1:30 AM (11:30 PM GMT) on the night of Tuesday, August 1 to Wednesday, August 2, an airport source told AFP, a few days after the military coup in the country.
“There are 262 people on board the plane, which is an Airbus A330, including a dozen babies,” French Minister of Foreign Affairs Catherine Colonna said earlier in the evening, explaining that the “vast majority of passengers are compatriots.”
In addition to a large majority of French citizens, Nigeriens, Portuguese, Belgians, Ethiopians, and Lebanese also landed, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs told the press at Roissy airport.
A second flight is expected to land overnight, carrying French, Nigerien, German, Belgian, Canadian, American, Austrian, and Indian citizens, according to the same source. Upon their arrival, about twenty members of the French Red Cross are present to offer water bottles and snacks.
Out of the approximately 1,200 French citizens registered on consular lists in Niger, according to Paris, 600 citizens would like to return to France. The authorities aim to conclude the operation by midday on Wednesday. Four repatriation planes have been planned so far.