Italy’s government said on Sunday it had reduced the number of troops it has in Niger to make room in its military base for civilians who may need protection.

Italy Reduces Troops in Niger to Free Up Military Base Space for Civilians

The Italian defence ministry said in a statement that a military plane took off from the Nigerien capital Niamey and landed in Rome late on Saturday with 65 Italian soldiers, as well as 10 U.S. soldiers.

Also read: Algeria President Opposes Military Intervention in Niger

The airlift was arranged to increase the “logistical autonomy” of the Italian military base, “optimising its accommodation capacity, if it becomes necessary to take in civilian compatriots and, in an emergency, evacuate them.”

The ministry said more flights out of Niger are planned in the coming days, adding that for the moment 250 Italian troops, deployed for counter-insurgency and military training missions, remain in the country.