West African bloc condemns Nigerien military’s plan to prosecute ousted president

West African bloc condemns Nigerien military’s plan to prosecute ousted president

Plan contradicts reported willingness of Niger’s military administration to restore constitutional order through peaceful means, says ECOWAS

By James Tasamba

KIGALI, Rwanda (AA) - The Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) on Monday condemned the Nigerien military administration’s plan to prosecute ousted President Mohamed Bazoum.

On Sunday, a spokesman for Niger’s military said Bazoum would be charged with “high treason and undermining the internal and external security” of the country.

In a statement, ECOWAS said it had learned “with stupefaction” attempts to bring charges against Bazoum.

“ECOWAS condemns this move, it represents yet another form of provocation and contradicts the reported willingness of the military authorities in Niger to restore constitutional order through peaceful means,” the statement said.

“Bazoum remains the democratically elected and recognized president of Niger,” it added.

The bloc reiterated its condemnation of Bazoum’s “illegal detention” and made a fresh demand for his release and reinstatement.

Last week, ECOWAS leaders, at an emergency summit in the Nigerian capital Abuja, ordered to activate its standby force in order to "restore constitutional order" in Niger.

However, on Sunday, a group of senior Nigerian Islamic scholars who visited Niger said the Nigerien military administration was open to a diplomatic approach to resolve their standoff with the regional bloc.

Gen. Abdourahamane Tiani, the former commander of Niger's presidential guard declared himself the head of a transitional government after Bazoum was ousted by a military intervention on July 26.

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