Ousted Niger president to be prosecuted by junta for treason

Mohamed Bazoum, candidate of the ruling Nigerien Party for Democracy and Socialism, speaks after voting at a polling station in Niamey, Niger, Feb. 21, 2021. Voting for the second round of Niger's presidential election began on Sunday as more than 7.4 million Nigeriens are expected at polling stations to choose the successor of the outgoing president Mahamadou Issoufou. (Xinhua)

Niger’s junta vowed Sunday to prosecute ousted President Mohamed Bazoum for “high treason” and slammed West African leaders for imposing sanctions on the country, reported local media.

Bazoum would be prosecuted “for high treason and undermining the internal and external security of Niger,” said Col Maj Amadou Abdramane, a member of the country’s Defense and Security Forces and the National Council for the Safeguard of the Homeland (CNSP) that was newly established by soldiers.

The CNSP and the transitional government strongly denounce the campaign of disinformation and misinformation being deliberately waged in the sole interest of the president and his clique, said Abdramane in a statement.

This aims to discredit the transitional authorities of Niger and undermine all negotiated solutions to the crisis to better justify foreign military intervention by certain heads of state in the name of the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS), he said.

ECOWAS has imposed sanctions on Niger in response to the recent coup and 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, with Niger’s coup leaders denouncing the sanctions as “illegal, inhumane and humiliating,” local media reported.

“The CNSP and the transitional government assure the Nigerien people that, under the guidance of CNSP President Abdourahamane Tchiani, urgent measures are being taken to minimize the impact of ECOWAS sanctions on our resilient population,” he added.

With regard to the apprehended officials of the ousted government, he said that the CNSP and the transitional government promise to “treat them with humanity” in accordance with traditional and religious values.

Soldiers in Niger detained Bazoum on July 26 and chose Tchiani, former leader of the country’s presidential guard, to lead the CNSP, a governing body established by them after the coup.

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