Italy reduces troops in Niger to make space for civilians at its military base

Italy reduces troops in Niger to make space for civilians at its military base

Rome flew back 65 Italian, 10 US soldiers late Saturday to raise accommodation capacity for civilians in Niger

By Giovanni Legorano

ROME (AA) - Italy’s government on Sunday said that it has cut the number of troops it has in Niger to make space for civilians at its military base in the West African country.

The Italian Defense Ministry said a plane carrying 65 Italian soldiers and 10 US soldiers from Niger’s capital Niamey landed late on Saturday at the Pratica di Mare military base near Rome, after a five-hour flight.

“With this flight the Defense Ministry intends to further increase the logistic autonomy of the Italian base in Niger, optimizing its accommodation capacity in case it becomes necessary to take in and, in an emergency, evacuate civilian compatriots,” the government said in a statement.

The Economic Community of West African States has said that it will intervene militarily in Niger unless the July 26 military coup is reversed and the deposed President Mohamed Bazoum is reinstated by Sunday.

As of Sunday, 254 Italian soldiers remain in Niger, the government added. It also said more similar flights are planned for this week.

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