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Niger’s coup announces to prosecute deposed President Mohamed Bazoum for 'high treason, undermining security'

The announcement gave no precise details on the allegations nor the circumstances or date of a trial.

Written By: Ajeet Kumar @Ajeet1994 Niamey (Niger) Updated on: August 14, 2023 15:27 IST
Niger's deposed President Mohamed Bazoum
Image Source : AP Niger's deposed President Mohamed Bazoum

Niger’s mutinous soldiers say they will prosecute deposed President Mohamed Bazoum for “high treason” and undermining state security, in an announcement hours after the junta said they were open to dialogue with West African nations to resolve the mounting regional crisis. If found guilty, Bazoum could face the death penalty, according to Niger’s penal code.

Spokesman Col. Maj. Amadou Abdramane said on state television Sunday night the military regime had “gathered the necessary evidence to prosecute before competent national and international authorities the ousted president and his local and foreign accomplices for high treason and for undermining the internal and external security of Niger.”

The announcement gave no precise details on the allegations nor the circumstances or date of a trial.

Niger coup

Niger’s democratically elected president, Bazoum was ousted by members of his presidential guard on July 26 and has since been under house arrest with his wife and son in the presidential compound in the capital, Niamey.

People close to the president as well as those in his ruling party say the family’s electricity and water have been cut off and they’re running out of food. The junta dismissed these reports Sunday night and accused West African politicians and international partners of fueling a disinformation campaign to discredit the junta.

International pressure 

International pressure is growing on the junta to release and reinstate Bazoum. Immediately after the coup, the West African regional bloc ECOWAS gave the regime seven days to return him to power or threatened military force, but that deadline came and went with no action from either side.

Last week, ECOWAS ordered the deployment of a “standby” force, but it’s still unclear when or if it would enter the country. The African Union Peace and Security Council is meeting on Monday to discuss Niger’s crisis and could overrule the decision if it felt that wider peace and security on the continent was threatened by an intervention. But as time drags on there’s growing uncertainty as mixed messages mount.

On Sunday evening, before the military accused Bazoum of treason, a member of the junta’s communication team told journalists that the regime had approved talks with ECOWAS, which would take place in the coming days. That same day a mediation team of Islamic scholars from neighboring Nigeria who had met with the junta on the weekend, said the regime was open to dialogue with ECOWAS. Previous attempts by ECOWAS to speak with the junta have floundered, with its delegations being barred from entering the country.

(AP)

Also Read: Niger coup leaders threatened to kill ousted President Bazoum in case of military intervention: Officials

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