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Niger: Bazoum's party denounces "abusive arrests" including ministers

Niger: Bazoum's party denounces "abusive arrests" including ministers
Nigeriens take part in a march organised by supporters of the coup leader, ...   -  
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Sam Mednick/Copyright 2023 The AP. All rights reserved.


Four ministers, a former minister and the leader of the party of Mohamed Bazoum, president-elect overthrown by a coup on Wednesday, were arrested, according to a press release from the presidential party sent to AFP on Monday.

"After the kidnapping of the President of the Republic", Mohamed Bazoum, "the putschists are returning to the charge and multiplying the abusive arrests", denounced the Nigerien Party for Democracy and Socialism (PNDS).

On Monday morning, Oil Minister Mahamane Sani Mahamadou - son of former President Mahamadou Issoufou - then Mines Minister Ousseini Hadizatou, were arrested. The putschists also "arrested the chairman of the National Executive Committee of the PNDS", Fourmakoye Gado, the statement added.

"This follows" the "arrests" of the Minister of the Interior and Decentralization, Hama Amadou Souley, of the Minister of Transport, Oumarou Malam Alma, and of the deputy and former Minister of Defense Kalla Moutari, recalls the party.

The PNDS “demands” the “immediate release” of the ministers arrested and “unjustly kidnapped”, saying it fears that Niger will evolve towards “a dictatorial and totalitarian regime” . Sources close to the presidency also announced the arrest of the Minister of Vocational Education, Kassoum Moctar.

These arrests come at a time when the junta called in a press release "all former ministers and directors of institutions to return to the various ministerial departments and directorates all the official vehicles made available to them", no later than Monday at 12 p.m. (11 a.m. GMT).

The Prime Minister of Niger, Ouhoumoudou Mahamadou, denounced Sunday on France 24 as a "gratuitous coup" and repeated that Niger relied "a lot on its international partnership".

President Bazoum has been sequestered in his residence by members of his close guard since Wednesday morning. He spoke on the phone with several Heads of State and other personalities from Niger's partner states, such as France and the United States.

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