Switzerland recalls aid agency staff amid volatile situation in Niger

Switzerland on Thursday expressed concern regarding the volatile situation in Niger and recalled a few staff members from its state-run aid agency from the landlocked West African country.

Several staff members of the Swiss Agency for Development and Cooperation (SDC) have temporarily left the country, the Foreign Ministry said in a statement, adding that “as soon as the situation allows, they will return to Niger.”

However, the Swiss aid agency will continue to work and “adapt its activities in the field of development cooperation, in line with the situation,” it added.

Condemning the armed forces’ seizure of power, the ministry called for dialogue, respect for human rights, and a return to constitutional order.

According to the ministry, 19 Swiss nationals have left the country as of Thursday, and the ministry is still in contact with the remaining 14 Swiss nationals.

Niger’s junta announced on Sunday that the country’s airspace would remain closed until further notice in response to the possibility of military intervention from the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS)

On July 28, Gen. Abdourahmane Tchiani, the head of Niger’s presidential guard, declared himself the country’s new leader, two days after a coup.

Tchiani said the coup was staged due to the “deteriorating security situation” in the West African country.

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