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Italian Plane With 99 Evacuees From Niger Arrives in Rome

An Italian military aircraft landed at an airport near Rome early on Wednesday with 99 passengers evacuated from Niger, the Italian defence ministry said.

The passengers evacuated included 36 Italians, 21 U.S. citizens and others from various countries, Italian state radio said.

The evacuation comes during a deepening crisis sparked by the coup last week against Niger’s democratically elected president, Mohamed Bazoum.

The Italian Embassy in Niger remains open and is assisting the Italians who decided to remain in Niger, said Foreign Minister Antonio Tajani.

He greeted the evacuated passengers as they left the plane.

“The priority right now is to guarantee the security of all the Italian citizens,” Tajani said.

Most of the Italians who were evacuated work in humanitarian organizations.

Before the evacuation, there were some 100 Italian civilians in Niger, in addition to some 350 Italian military members stationed there.

Several European countries are continuing to evacuate foreign nationals from Niger on Wednesday, with a third French military flight expected to depart the capital as defence chiefs from West Africa’s regional bloc are set to meet to discuss last week’s coup.

France, Italy and Spain all announced evacuations for their citizens and other European nationals, concerned that they risked becoming trapped by the coup that won backing Tuesday from three other West African nations also ruled by mutinous soldiers.

Source : Africa News