Niger’s coup leaders to try President Bazoum for ‘treason’

Niger’s coup leaders say they will try President Mohamed Bazoum for “high treason.”

According to Press TV, a spokesman for the military accused Bazoum of “undermining the internal and external security of Niger” in a statement late Sunday.

The junta spokesman, Colonel Major Amadou Abdramane, said the gathered “necessary evidence” could be used to prosecute Bazoum “before competent national and international authorities.”

The president and his family have been held at the official Niamey residence since the coup on July 26. Bazoum could face death penalty if found guilty.

The coup leaders have reportedly threatened in private conversations with Western officials to kill Bazoum.

In the immediate aftermath of the coup, the leaders of the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) had imposed a deadline on the Nigerien coup leaders, giving them one week to restore Bazoum to office.

But that deadline passed last week. The West African leaders imposed sanctions on Niger – one the poorest nations in the world – and reiterated that the bloc was mobilizing a standby military force. They have severed financial transactions and electricity supplies and closed borders with Niger.

Abdramane slammed ECOWAS for the sanctions and accused the group and “their international mentors” of trying to derail a peaceful solution to the crisis in order to justify military intervention.

Only hours before the possible charges against Bazoum were announced, a visiting delegation from neighboring Nigeria issued a statement, saying the military junta was willing to engage in diplomacy.

Junta leader General Abdourahamane Tiani “said their doors were open to explore diplomacy and peace in resolving the matter,” said the statement.

Civil Society Organizations (CSOs) in Nigeria has warned of military intervention, saying it would “practically exacerbate the crisis and inflict further suffering on the innocent people in Niger Republic and the wider region.”

Mali and Burkina Faso have said an intervention would be tantamount to a declaration of war on them. Both countries are being ruled by military governments who seized power in coups.

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