Health Management

Niger Junta Says It Will Prosecute Deposed President for Treason


The navy junta that seized energy in Niger final month stated over the weekend that it could prosecute the deposed president for treason, at the same time as an middleman stated coup leaders have been open to talks with West African counties that had threatened to intervene militarily, the primary signal of a thaw after almost three weeks of rising tensions.

Since mutinous troopers detained President Mohamed Bazoum of Niger on July 26, they’ve saved him remoted in his non-public residence in Niamey, the capital, along with his spouse and one in all their sons; dissolved his authorities; and, in accordance with U.S. officers, vowed to kill him if West African international locations intervened militarily.

On Sunday, the junta member performing as a spokesman, Col. Amadou Abdramane, stated that Mr. Bazoum would face expenses of “excessive treason” and “undermining the inner and exterior safety of Niger” after the democratically elected president spoke with international leaders and worldwide organizations whereas in detention.

The coup in Niger final month set off probably the most extreme political crises in recent times in West Africa, following a series of military takeovers in a area already troubled by Islamist insurgencies, a number of the world’s most excessive results of local weather change and widespread poverty.

It has additionally raised questions on the way forward for Western help in Niger, which beneath Mr. Bazoum was a safety ally of nations like the US and a popular recipient of funds from European international locations hoping to stem migration to their continent. Greater than 2,500 Western troops, together with about 1,100 Individuals, are posted in Niger to coach the nation’s navy and assist monitor extremist teams affiliated with Al Qaeda and the Islamic State.

A West African regional bloc, the Financial Neighborhood of West African States, A West African regional bloc, the Financial Neighborhood of West African States, has said it would activate a “standby force” to intervene towards Niger’s coup leaders if Mr. Bazoum isn’t launched and reinstated.

However specialists doubt that international locations already scuffling with home insecurity and underequipped militaries might mount a profitable operation towards a Nigerien navy that has obtained years of Western coaching. In addition they warn {that a} regional battle might have devastating penalties in an space the place extremist teams have prolonged their grip in recent times.

President Bola Tinubu of Nigeria, the present chairman of the West African bloc, has stated that power can be used as a final resort. On Sunday, Niger’s coup leaders stated they have been open to dialogue with the bloc, in accordance with a non secular determine from Nigeria who was obtained by the junta chief, Gen. Abdourahmane Tchiani, as a part of mediation talks.

From his non-public residence, Mr. Bazoum has remained involved with international officers together with the U.S. secretary of state, Antony J. Blinken, in addition to some members of his authorities. He has referred to as on the US to assist restore constitutional order in Niger, writing in an opinion essay printed earlier this month in The Washington Publish that the navy junta was holding him hostage.

Mr. Bazoum additionally advised Human Rights Watch final week that he was with out electrical energy and recent meals, and that these detaining him had refused to let his son, who he stated has a coronary heart situation, get medical therapy.

On Sunday, Colonel Abdramane, the junta’s spokesman, stated the brand new authorities had gathered sufficient proof to prosecute Mr. Bazoum primarily based on his communications with international heads of state and worldwide organizations.

He gave no particulars on the allegations, nor a date for a trial. Underneath Niger’s penal code, treason is punishable by demise.

Colonel Abdramane additionally stated that a physician had visited Mr. Bazoum and his household on Saturday and had not raised alarms concerning the household’s well being, a declare that would not be independently verified.

Hours earlier, 1000’s of junta supporters had thronged the nation’s largest stadium for the second weekend in a row, as a preferred pro-military singer gave a live performance in tribute to the nation’s new leaders.

Praising the brand new common in energy, the crowds sang “Say Tchiani,” or “We want Tchiani” in Hausa, one of many essential languages spoken in Niger. The tune was as soon as a signature of Mr. Bazoum’s supporters, who chanted “Say Bazoum” throughout his profitable 2020 presidential bid.

On Sunday, there was no point out of the democratically elected president within the stadium’s stands.

Omar Hama Saley contributed reporting from Niamey, Niger.

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