Niger Junta Targets Bazoum with Treason Charges, Sparks Tensions

Former Niger President Bazoum’s Treason Charges Amplify Crisis, Raising Alarms Over Stability and Junta’s Actions

Niger Junta Targets Bazoum with Treason Charges, Sparks Tensions

Credit: Google| Mohamed Bazoum was removed from the presidency over two years after taking office

In a bold move that defies international pressure, Niger’s military junta has announced its intention to prosecute former President Mohamed Bazoum for high treason and undermining national security. This development underscores the junta’s resolve to retain power and resist calls for the restoration of Bazoum’s leadership. The West African regional bloc Ecowas expressed shock and disapproval at this decision, emphasizing its commitment to a peaceful resolution.

The ousted President, who has been held captive in the basement of his palace since the coup nearly three weeks ago, faces these charges alongside both local and foreign individuals alleged to have been involved in his alleged treasonous acts. Despite the challenging situation, Bazoum’s doctor reports that he maintains a positive demeanor and outlook.

The international community, including the US State Department, has condemned the charges, denouncing them as unwarranted and counterproductive to resolving the crisis. The junta, however, has stood its ground, asserting that it possesses evidence to back the accusations.

While Ecowas has threatened military intervention to reverse the coup, no such action has been taken thus far, and the junta remains defiant, warning against any attempt to interfere. Additionally, Ecowas has imposed sanctions on the junta, including cutting electricity to the nation, resulting in blackouts in major cities.

As tensions escalate, efforts towards mediation have emerged. Muslim clerics from Nigeria engaged in talks with junta leaders, aiming to broker a peaceful solution. Junta-appointed Prime Minister Ali Mahamane Lamine Zeine expressed optimism for dialogue with Ecowas to discuss lifting the sanctions.

Bazoum’s detainment has raised concerns about his and his family’s wellbeing, with reports of deteriorating health conditions and limited access to essentials like clean water and electricity. These conditions have been decried as inhumane and a violation of human rights by various individuals and organizations, including UN human rights chief Volker Turk and Carine Kaneza Nantulya from Human Rights Watch Africa.

The situation in Niger has garnered global attention due to its implications for democracy, stability, and the ongoing battle against extremism in the Sahel region. The junta’s decision to charge Bazoum with high treason adds complexity to the already intricate crisis, challenging efforts to find a peaceful resolution.

The political landscape in Niger remains uncertain, with the junta consolidating power, an increasingly tense environment for journalists and activists, and ongoing jihadi violence. As the international community watches closely, the fate of the nation hangs in the balance, hinging on delicate negotiations and diplomatic maneuvering.



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