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Tuesday, December 5, 2023

Legal professionals name for ousted Niger president’s launch after the junta says it foiled an escape try

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DAKAR, Senegal — Legal professionals for Niger’s ousted president known as for his instant launch Friday, a day after the ruling army junta mentioned it had thwarted an in a single day try by the president to flee home arrest together with his household practically three months after he was detained within the wake of a coup.

Mohamed Bazoum, his spouse and son are being held with out entry to attorneys or the skin world, mentioned a world group of attorneys representing Bazoum mentioned in a press release. They denied the junta’s accusations that he tried to flee.

The president and his household have been below home arrest for the reason that finish of July when mutinous troopers toppled him and has refused to resign. The junta had lower off his electrical energy and water.

Col. Maj. Amadou Abdramane mentioned late Thursday in a press release that Bazoum tried to achieve a ready automobile at round 3 a.m. that was to take him to the outskirts of the capital, Niamey, alongside together with his household, two cooks and his safety personnel.

From there, they have been to be flown to Nigeria aboard “two helicopters belonging to a international energy,” Abdramane mentioned.

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“This plan to destabilize our nation was thwarted,” Abdramane mentioned, including that the principle perpetrators had been arrested and an investigation has already been opened by the general public prosecutor.

Bazoum has solely been seen a number of instances since being detained however had maintained communication with individuals in his shut circle. Two individuals with direct ties to Bazoum, who spoke on situation of anonymity due to the sensitivity of the state of affairs, mentioned he hadn’t been heard from since Wednesday night.

On Friday, Bazoum’s attorneys mentioned a physician was denied entry whereas attempting to convey meals to the household.

“Not solely should the army authorities present us with proof that President Bazoum and his household are alive, however above all they need to launch them instantly,” mentioned Reed Brody, one of many attorneys. “It’s absurd to accuse somebody of escaping,” he mentioned.

Whereas Bazoum and his household’s whereabouts are nonetheless unclear, Niger consultants say it is not very believable he tried to flee.

“Given how effectively guarded Bazoum and his household are and the safety across the presidential palace, it’s tough to think about an escape in any situation, least of all one involving helicopters planning to land on the outskirts of Niamey, because the (junta) alleged of their communique,” mentioned Andrew Lebovich, a analysis fellow with the Clingendael Institute. Nevertheless, this occurs in a context of rising social and political tensions and the transition is seemingly stalled throughout quite a few fronts, he mentioned.

The USA has formally declared that the ousting of Bazoum was a coup, suspending lots of of thousands and thousands of {dollars} in help in addition to army help and coaching.

Niger was seen by many within the West because the final nation in Africa’s Sahel area — the huge expanse south of the Sahara Desert — that might be partnered with to beat again a rising jihadi insurgency linked to al-Qaida and the Islamic State group.

Within the wake of the July coup, nonetheless, French President Emmanuel Macron introduced that France was ending its army presence and would pull its ambassador overseas. French troops have already got been ousted by army governments in neighboring Mali and Burkina Faso, that are each seeing a surge in assaults.


Krista Larson contributed to this report.

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