The West African bloc ECOWAS on Monday lashed threats by Niger’s military rulers to prosecute ousted president Mohamed Bazoum, saying this contradicted the regime’s declared willingness to resolve the crisis peacefully.
The coup leaders who toppled Bazoum said late Sunday they had gathered evidence enabling them to prosecute Bazoum for “high treason and undermining the internal and external security of Niger.”
This, it said, was based on “contacts” Bazoum had had with “nationals… foreign heads of state… (and) officials in international organisations.”
In a statement on Monday, ECOWAS said it had learned of the threats “with stupefaction”.
“It represents yet another form of provocation and contradicts the reported willingness of the military authorities in the Republic of Niger to restore constitutional order through peaceful means,” the bloc said.
Bazoum, 63, and his family have been held at the president’s official residence since the coup, with international concern mounting over his conditions in detention.