from EMEKA OKONKWO in Abuja, Nigeria
ABUJA, (CAJ News) – IN addition to a recent call for its citizens to evacuate, China has warned its nationals in Niger against travelling to areas prone to terror attacks in the West African country.
The Asian nation is meanwhile negotiating with the authorities to ensure the safety of its nationals in the wake of the coup that occurred at the end of July, as well as the uncertainty emanating from threats by the Economic Community of West Africa States (ECOWAS) of military intervention.
“Currently, the security situation in Niger is not optimistic,” stated the Chinese Embassy from the Niger capital, Niamey.
It alerted its nationals to frequent terrorist attacks in Agadez, Diffa and Tillabéry regions, which have caused severe military and police casualties and property losses.
“In view of the special circumstances of the above-mentioned regions, if Chinese citizens insist on going or staying in the relevant regions, the parties concerned may face higher security risks and affect the effectiveness of assistance.”
“The Chinese embassy in Niger has stepped up negotiations with the Nigerien authorities, urging them to take necessary measures to protect the personal and property safety of Chinese citizens.” the embassy disclosed.
The embassy stated local personnel and institutions had paid close attention to the security situation, maintained a high degree of vigilance, strengthened security precautions and emergency preparedness, reduced unnecessary going out, and ensured personal and property safety.
In case of emergency, Chinese are urged to call the police and contact the embassy.
Evacuations have been rendered impossible as Niger closed its airspace.
The situation in Niger has been a cause for global concern. Before the coup that ousted President Mohamed Bazoum, the country was enduring attacks by Islamist groups.
This week, at least 17 soldiers were killed in Tillabéry during an ambush by militants.
Niger’s military government has resisted pressure and military intervention threats by Nigeria-headquartered ECOWAS to release from custody and reinstate Bazoum.
Neighbouring Burkina Faso and Mali, also under military regimes, have endorsed the coup in Niger, adding to the crisis in the region.
– CAJ News