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Niger junta threatens to murder Bazoum if ECOWAS attacks

Niger junta threatens to murder Bazoum if ECOWAS attacks

Ousted Nigerien president, Mohamed Bazoum,  faces the threat of being killed by the junta that overthrew his government.

The junta reportedly said it could no safety of may not guarantee his continued safety if the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) attempts any military intervention to restore democracy in the francophone country.

Rising from a meeting of the ECOWAS Heads of States and Government in Abuja on Thursday, the president of ECOWAS, Omar Touray, said the bloc had directed the deployment of a “standby force” to restore democracy in Niger after the coup.

The junta revealed their resolve to murder the deposed president to a top United States diplomat, two Western officials confirmed to the Associated Press on Thursday.

The threat came after the resolution of the ECOWAS to deploy troops in Niger following the refusal of the military leaders to restore democracy despite the sanctions imposed on them and their collaborators by the regional body.

An unnamed Western military official said representatives of the junta told the US Under Secretary of State, Victoria Nuland, of the threat to Bazoum during her visit to the country on Monday.

According to AP, a US official confirmed the account, also speaking on condition of anonymity, because they were not authorised to speak to the media.

Bazoum, who was deposed on July 26, is being held hostage at his residence.

UN, US worry

Meanwhile, the US and the United Nations have expressed concern over the health and safety of the deposed president of Niger since the overthrow of his government on July 26.

The UN Secretary General, Antonio Guterres, said he was concerned about what he called the “horrible living conditions” of Bazoum and his family, who are still being detained by the coup plotters.

According to BBC Hausa, a spokesman for the Secretary-General reported Guterres as expressing great concern for the safety and life of Bazoum and his family, while he also called for the speedy release of the deposed president without any conditions and his return to power.

The decision came after a report by CNN, saying that the junta kept him in solitary confinement and forced him to eat rice.

However, Bazoum also sent a brief text message to a friend, explaining that he had been “without contact since Friday”, and was unable to get more food and medicine.

“We are very concerned about the health and safety of his life and that of his family,” said US state department spokesman Mathew Miller.

Miller added, “As time goes on, he is being held in an isolated location, and that is something we are concerned about.”

Also, Bazoum’s party, PNDS-Tarayya, in a statement claimed that the ousted President and his family were denied access to drinking water and electricity.

 

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