Mohamed Bazoum, the deposed president of Niger, might face treason costs, the junta that unseated him final month introduced, marking a brand new escalation in tensions with neighboring nations which are pondering navy motion in opposition to the coup leaders.

A navy intervention would put lots of of Western troopers, together with U.S. and French troops who’re primarily based in Niger to help in combating regional militant teams, liable to being caught within the center.

In his assertion Sunday evening, the junta spokesman, Col. Maj. Amadou Abdramane accused Bazoum of “excessive treason” and of “undermining the interior and exterior safety of Niger” — costs that would carry the dying penalty.

West African nations mobilize standby power as Niger disaster grinds on

Abdramane stated the gathered “obligatory proof” might be used to prosecute Bazoum “earlier than competent nationwide and worldwide authorities.”

The announcement might have additional restricted the choices for the USA, France and regional powers to barter an answer in hopes of restoring the established order earlier than the navy coup. “They’re attempting to make it very clear that Bazoum coming again to energy is unacceptable to them,” stated Andrew Lebovich, a analysis fellow on the Dutch Clingendael Institute, including that the announcement additionally means that the junta is “utilizing him as a bargaining chip.”

The Related Press reported final week that Niger’s coup leaders in non-public conversations with Western officers threatened to kill Bazoum, who’s being held in a basement of his residence, within the occasion of a navy intervention.

Within the speedy aftermath of the coup, the leaders of ECOWAS, a regional bloc of nations, had imposed a deadline on the Nigerien junta, giving it one week to revive Bazoum to workplace. However that deadline handed final week with no indicators of navy motion.

ECOWAS reiterated its warnings after an emergency summit on Thursday, saying that the bloc was mobilizing a standby navy power, but it surely didn’t present a timeline or specifics for a attainable navy intervention.

The scenario in Niger was additionally the topic of a gathering that convened representatives of the African Union on Monday.

The Nigerien junta’s private and non-private feedback on Bazoum’s future seem to underline its confidence {that a} navy intervention stays a slim chance, amid disagreements in Western and in West African capitals over one of the best path ahead. Talks between U.S. officers and the junta seem to have produced few tangible outcomes thus far.

However the frequency of talks between the worldwide group and the Nigerien junta has stunned some observers. Solely hours earlier than the attainable costs in opposition to Bazoum have been introduced on Sunday evening, a spiritual delegation visiting from neighboring Nigeria put out a press release that raised hopes for de-escalation, saying that the junta had proven a willingness to have interaction diplomatically.

Either side might have an curiosity in persevering with talks. “Even when executed completely, a navy intervention can be very dangerous and doubtless contain vital lack of life,” Lebovich stated.

In the meantime, the junta seems to be entrenching itself, naming a brand new authorities final week and staging rallies in exhibits of defiance.

Sunday’s announcement might have been a part of that sample, Lebovich stated. “They’ve moved in a short time, implanting themselves and altering the face of the establishments,” he stated, including that the junta had not solely changed the highest management but additionally moved to take over state-operated industries within the nation of round 25 million individuals.

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