The navy junta that seized energy in Niger final month stated over the weekend that it will prosecute the deposed president for treason, whilst an middleman stated coup leaders have been open to talks with West African counties that had threatened to intervene militarily, the primary signal of a thaw after practically three weeks of rising tensions.

Since mutinous troopers detained President Mohamed Bazoum of Niger on July 26, they’ve stored him remoted in his non-public residence in Niamey, the capital, together with his spouse and one among their sons; dissolved his authorities; and, in keeping with U.S. officers, vowed to kill him if West African nations intervened militarily.

On Sunday, the junta member performing as a spokesman, Col. Amadou Abdramane, stated that Mr. Bazoum would face prices of “excessive treason” and “undermining the inner and exterior safety of Niger” after the democratically elected president spoke with overseas leaders and worldwide organizations whereas in detention.

The coup in Niger final month set off one of the crucial extreme political crises in recent times in West Africa, following a sequence of navy takeovers in a area already troubled by Islamist insurgencies, a few of the world’s most excessive results of local weather change and widespread poverty.

It has additionally raised questions on the way forward for Western help in Niger, which beneath Mr. Bazoum was a safety ally of nations like the USA and a well-liked recipient of funds from European nations hoping to stem migration to their continent. Greater than 2,500 Western troops, together with about 1,100 Individuals, are posted in Niger to coach the nation’s navy and assist monitor extremist teams affiliated with Al Qaeda and the Islamic State.

A West African regional bloc, the Financial Group of West African States, A West African regional bloc, the Financial Group of West African States, has stated it will activate a “standby pressure” to intervene in opposition to Niger’s coup leaders if Mr. Bazoum is just not launched and reinstated.

However consultants doubt that nations already battling home insecurity and underequipped militaries may mount a profitable operation in opposition to a Nigerien navy that has acquired years of Western coaching. Additionally they warn {that a} regional battle may have devastating penalties in an space the place extremist teams have prolonged their grip in recent times.

President Bola Tinubu of Nigeria, the present chairman of the West African bloc, has stated that pressure can be used as a final resort. On Sunday, Niger’s coup leaders stated they have been open to dialogue with the bloc, in keeping with a spiritual determine from Nigeria who was acquired by the junta chief, Gen. Abdourahmane Tchiani, as a part of mediation talks.

From his non-public residence, Mr. Bazoum has remained in touch with overseas officers together with the U.S. secretary of state, Antony J. Blinken, in addition to some members of his authorities. He has referred to as on the USA to assist restore constitutional order in Niger, writing in an opinion essay revealed earlier this month in The Washington Put up that the navy junta was holding him hostage.

Mr. Bazoum additionally advised Human Rights Watch final week that he was with out electrical energy and contemporary meals, and that these detaining him had refused to let his son, who he stated has a coronary heart situation, get medical therapy.

On Sunday, Colonel Abdramane, the junta’s spokesman, stated the brand new authorities had gathered sufficient proof to prosecute Mr. Bazoum based mostly on his communications with overseas heads of state and worldwide organizations.

He gave no particulars on the allegations, nor a date for a trial. Below Niger’s penal code, treason is punishable by demise.

Colonel Abdramane additionally stated that a health care provider had visited Mr. Bazoum and his household on Saturday and had not raised alarms concerning the household’s well being, a declare that would not be independently verified.

Hours earlier, 1000’s of junta supporters had thronged the nation’s largest stadium for the second weekend in a row, as a preferred pro-military singer gave a live performance in tribute to the nation’s new leaders.

Praising the brand new common in energy, the crowds sang “Say Tchiani,” or “We’d like Tchiani” in Hausa, one of many principal languages spoken in Niger. The tune was as soon as a signature of Mr. Bazoum’s supporters, who chanted “Say Bazoum” throughout his profitable 2020 presidential bid.

On Sunday, there was no point out of the democratically elected president within the stadium’s stands.

Omar Hama Saley contributed reporting from Niamey, Niger.


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