The West African regional bloc, ECOWAS, strongly criticized the military rulers of Niger on Monday for their threats to prosecute the ousted president, Mohamed Bazoum. ECOWAS stated that these threats contradicted the regime’s professed intention to peacefully resolve the ongoing crisis.
The leaders of the coup that led to the removal of Bazoum announced on Sunday that they had gathered evidence to bring charges against him for “high treason and undermining the internal and external security of Niger.” They claimed that Bazoum had engaged in communications with “nationals, foreign heads of state, and officials in international organizations.”
In response, ECOWAS released a statement on Monday expressing its deep astonishment at these threats. The regional bloc highlighted that such actions from the coup leaders were a source of further provocation and ran counter to their reported commitment to restoring constitutional order in the Republic of Niger through peaceful means.
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.