NIAMEY, Aug 14 – the military junta in Niger has announced its intentions to prosecute former President Mohamed Bazoum on charges of high treason.
The charges are related to his communications with foreign leaders and international organizations, according to the junta’s spokesperson Colonel Amadou Abdramane.
This move has garnered strong criticism from various quarters. The international community, including the United States, United Nations, and West African leaders, has condemned the decision. They view it as a clear indication that the junta is not pursuing a peaceful resolution to the ongoing crisis.
The coup leaders have already detained Bazoum and dissolved the elected government, which has triggered widespread condemnation from global powers and the West African regional bloc ECOWAS.
The situation has larger implications beyond the internal affairs of Niger. The country, a significant uranium producer and a key Western ally in the fight against the Islamist insurgency holds strategic importance for various global powers. These rival forces are closely watching the unfolding power struggle.
U.N. spokesperson Stephane Dujarric expressed serious concern over the charges brought against Bazoum and reiterated the call for his immediate release. The U.S. State Department’s deputy spokesperson Vedant Patel labelled the action unjustified and counterproductive to resolving the crisis peacefully.
ECOWAS, the regional bloc, also criticized the move, deeming it a provocation. The bloc stated that such actions contradict the reported intentions of the military authorities in Niger to restore constitutional order through peaceful means.
While some residents of the capital city Niamey voiced their support for the prosecution of the former president, citing his appeals to foreign intervention during his tenure, others emphasize the importance of adhering to proper legal procedures.
Mucahid Durmaz, a senior West Africa analyst at risk intelligence firm Verisk Maplecroft, suggested that the junta’s motive behind prosecuting Bazoum could undermine his legitimacy and discourage foreign powers from reinstating him. He noted that this legal action might compel ECOWAS to take a more nuanced stance toward the junta and focus on negotiating a transitional arrangement for the return of democratic governance.
As the situation unfolds, tensions between the junta, international actors, and regional organizations continue to escalate, adding complexity to the efforts to restore stability to Niger.
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