Niger’s military rulers have issued a ban on “French aircraft” from flying over the country’s airspace, according to a statement on the website of the Agency for the Safety of Air Navigation in Africa and Madagascar (ASECNA). The ban includes French aircraft and aircraft chartered by France, such as those operated by Air France. The statement also indicated that Niger’s airspace would remain closed for all military, operational, and special flights unless prior authorization is obtained.
The decision to ban French aircraft comes amid strained relations between France and Niger following the military coup in Niger on July 26, which resulted in the overthrow of elected President Mohamed Bazoum. France has been a vocal supporter of the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) and its efforts to restore President Bazoum to power. In response to the coup, Niger had initially closed its airspace on August 6, citing the “threat of intervention from neighboring countries.” The airspace was only reopened for commercial flights on September 4.
The ban on French aircraft further underscores the diplomatic tensions between France and Niger and raises questions about the future of their bilateral relations.
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