Niger Generals vow to prosecute ousted president for ‘high treason’

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(FILES) Nigerien President Mohamed Bazoum meets with the French Foreign and Armies ministers during their official visit to Niamey on July 15, 2022. - Access to the residence and offices of Niger President Mohamed Bazoum were blocked off on July 26, 2023 by members of the elite Presidential Guard, a source close to Bazoum said, although the reason was unclear. (Photo by BERTRAND GUAY / AFP)

Niger’s military regime vowed late Sunday to prosecute ousted President Mohamed Bazoum for “high treason” and slammed West African leaders for imposing sanctions on the country. The Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) imposed sanctions on Niger in response to the coup and has not ruled out using force against the army officers who toppled the democratically elected Bazoum on July 26.

The West African bloc has approved the deployment of a “standby force to restore constitutional order” in Niger as soon as possible but remains committed to finding a diplomatic solution to the crisis. Niger’s military leaders said they would prosecute Bazoum “for high treason and undermining the internal and external security of Niger”, according to a statement read out by Colonel-Major Amadou Abdramane on national television.

Bazoum, 63, and his family have been held at the president’s official Niamey residence since the coup, with international concern mounting over his conditions in detention. A member of his entourage said he saw his doctor on Saturday. “After this visit, the doctor raised no problems regarding the state of health of the deposed president and members of his family,” the military said.

They also said sanctions imposed on Niger had made it difficult for people to access medicines, food and electricity, and were “illegal, inhumane and humiliating”.

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