Niger’s military administration has enacted a stringent ban on French aircraft, prohibiting them from traversing the country’s airspace, as per the latest reports from the regional air safety organization, ASECNA.
This decision marks a significant escalation in regional tensions, reflecting the ongoing political turmoil in the West African nation.
According to an official statement released late Saturday by ASECNA, “Niger’s airspace is open to all national and international commercial flights, with the sole exception of French aircraft or those chartered by France, including those of the airline Air France.” This restriction is indicative of the strained relations between Niger and France, potentially impacting diplomatic and commercial interactions between the two nations.
The statement further clarified that the airspace would remain inaccessible for all military, operational, and other special flights unless they receive prior authorization. This move is seen as a precautionary measure to maintain national security and sovereignty in the face of potential external threats.
This development follows Niger’s announcement in August about the closure of its airspace due to the “threat of intervention from neighboring countries.” This announcement came after the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) threatened military action to reinstate Mohamed Bazoum, who was deposed in a military intervention on July 26.
The imposition of airspace restrictions on French aircraft is a manifestation of the heightened geopolitical tensions in the region, and it remains to be seen how this will impact the diplomatic landscape and whether it will lead to resolutions or further escalations. (AA)