Wednesday, June 19, 2024

Niger: Military junta to prosecute Bazoum for high treason

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Elvis Adjetey
Elvis Adjetey
Elvis Adjetey is an experienced African journalist who has worked with top media brands in Ghana where he is based.

Niger’s ousted President Mohamed Bazoum is currently fighting for his freedom from detention but it could get worst for him after the military junta hinted he would be prosecuted for high treason.

Bazoum is to face prosecution for high treason over his exchanges with foreign heads of state and international organisations.

He has been in a basement prison since July 26 when the his own presidential guard elements seized power in a coup.

Efforts by the international community including the west African regional body, ECOWAS, African Union and the United Nations to have him released have proofed futile so far.

Colonel Amadou Abdramane, a spokesperson for the junta, late on Sunday said on state TV that the coup leaders have “assembled the necessary elements to prosecute the ousted president … for high treason and undermining the internal and external security of Niger.”

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The AU on Friday expressed concerns about the detention conditions of Mohamed Bazoum which is said were poor.

“Indeed, concordant sources attest to a worrying deterioration of such conditions,” the AU statement stated.

Calls for Bazoum’s release

The AU commission Chairperson also called “on the military authorities to urgently halt the escalation of relations with the regional organization ECOWAS, including the cessation of the continued sequestration of President Bazoum in worryingly poor conditions.

Such treatment of a democratically elected president through a regular electoral process is unacceptable.”

Bazoum who has already called on the international community to intervene said abandoning Niger would be disastrous.

He has been held prisoner with his wife and son since the military coup on July 26.

Human Rights Watch officials who to Mr. Bazoum, described the treatment of his family as “inhuman and cruel”.

“My son is sick, has a serious heart condition, and needs to see a doctor,” HRW quoted Bazoum as telling them.

Military junta dismissive

Niger’s military spokesperson, Colonel Major Amadou Abdramane has however dismissed concerns over Bazoum’s health. According to him the deposed leader has already seen his doctor.

“After this visit, the doctor raised no problems regarding the state of health of the deposed president and members of his family,” he said.

Abdramane also slammed ECOWAS sanctions on Niger which he said were “illegal, inhumane and humiliating” measures that were making it difficult for people to access medicines, food and electricity.

ECOWAS has already activated the mobilisation of a standby military force to possibly intervene in Niger.

Plans towards possible deployment are still yet to be fully disclosed as ECOWAS said it was still open to negotiations with the junta.

The coup leaders were said to be open to diplomacy to resolve the current standoff, a group of senior Nigerian Islamic scholars said on Sunday after meeting the junta in Niamey.

Niger: Soldiers overthrow President Bazoum in a coup


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