Residents of Niamey, the capital of Niger, have expressed their reception of the plans to prosecute the former president, Mohamed Bazoum. This potential trial has become a major topic of discussion in the city, with some individuals supporting the announcement made by the ruling junta on Sunday.
The military authorities revealed that Bazoum is set to face charges of “high treason” and undermining state security. One local resident voiced their opinion, stating that Bazoum’s alleged actions were a betrayal of the people of Niger, as he was accused of diverting the nation’s resources for personal gain during his presidency.
The coup leader, General Abdourahmane Tchiani, addressed the nation in his inaugural televised speech, emphasizing the need for a change in direction to secure the country’s future. He and others involved in the coup asserted that their intervention was necessary to address the pressing “security, economic, and social challenges” faced by the nation.
Despite the military’s intentions to bring Bazoum to trial, concerns have been raised regarding the impartiality of the judicial system. A representative from a local human rights group highlighted that a fair justice system might be compromised, raising doubts about the appointment of the Minister of Justice and its potential impact on the trial.
The move to prosecute Bazoum has attracted attention beyond Niger’s borders. Both the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) and the US Department of State have expressed reservations about the prosecution, viewing it as potentially hindering a peaceful resolution to the crisis.
It’s worth noting that Nigeriens have been under sanctions imposed by ECOWAS and the West African Economic and Monetary Union (WAEMU) as a consequence of the recent political developments in the country.
Military Junta Plan to Charge President Mohamed Bazoum of High Treason
Coup leaders have pledged to bring charges of “high treason” against the deposed President Mohamed Bazoum. This announcement was made late on Sunday night, accompanied by criticism aimed at West African leaders for their imposition of sanctions on Niger.
The Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) responded to the coup by imposing sanctions on Niger and leaving open the possibility of employing force against the army officers responsible for toppling the democratically elected President Bazoum on July 26. ECOWAS also granted approval for the deployment of a “standby force” to restore constitutional order in Niger at the earliest opportunity, while still maintaining a commitment to seeking a diplomatic resolution to the ongoing crisis.
Niger’s military leadership, through a statement delivered by Colonel-Major Amadou Abdramane on national television, declared their intention to prosecute Bazoum on charges of “high treason” and undermining the internal and external security of the nation. Since the coup, Bazoum and his family have been confined to the official presidential residence in Niamey, raising international concerns about their well-being during detention.
Reports indicate that Bazoum was visited by a doctor on Saturday, and according to a member of his entourage, no significant health issues were reported after the visit. The military authorities echoed this assessment, stating that the deposed president and his family appeared to be in satisfactory health following the medical examination.