French nuclear group evacuates workers to Niamey after threat.


According to a spokesperson for the French nuclear group Orano, 18 foreign workers were evacuated on Friday from a uranium mining site in Arlit, northern Niger, to the capital city of Niamey due to a security threat.

Orano ceased uranium mining in 2021 due to depletion of reserves, but the company has long-term plans to retrain employees and clean up the mine site.

The threat, which the spokesperson did not specify, was said to have occurred in a village halfway between the Mali border and Arlit, which is about 800 kilometers (500 miles) northeast of the capital.

Armed militants affiliated with al Qaeda and the Islamic State control large swaths of Mali’s arid northern region near Niger, where they have previously carried out attacks, raids, and kidnappings of national and foreign workers.

“According to procedures, and as a precautionary measure, expatriates and missionaries identified as potential targets at the living base were evacuated by plane to Niamey under protection,” the spokesperson said. They will be returned in a few days once the threat has been eliminated.

Last summer, the majority of French anti-terror troops stationed in Mali were transferred to Niger to assist the Sahel country in its fight against insurgents.


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