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Niamey residents welcome plans to prosecute former president

Shopkeepers take tea near the entrance of the airport in Niamey, Niger, Tuesday, Aug. 8, 2023.   -  
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Sam Mednick/Copyright 2023 The AP. All rights reserved.


The possible trial of former Nigerien president Mohamed Bazoum was a hot topic in Niamey on Monday 'Aug 14).

Some residents of the capital backed the plan the ruling junta announced late Sunday.

The military said in an address Bazoum would be tried for “high treason” and undermining state security.

"Crime of high treason? That's exactly what he [deserves], since this gentleman has betrayed the people of Niger, by trying to put all Niger's resources to his own account. It's unacceptable for a president," a local resident said. 

Coup leader General Abdourahmane Tchiani said in his first televised adress the country needed to change course to secure its preservation and he and others had decided to intervene to overcome "security, economic and social challenges".

"We liked what Tchiani did because (President Mohamed) Bazoum betrayed our country, he really did," a lady doubled down.

Independent justice system?

Col. Major Amadou Abdramane, member of Niger's ruling CNSP said Bazoum was being charged following his post-coup exchanges with high-ranking West African politicians and "their international mentors," whom the leaders of the revolt accuse of making false allegations and attempting to derail a peaceful transition in order to justify a military intervention.

He added that military regime had "gathered the necessary evidence to prosecute before competent national and international authorities the ousted president and his local and foreign accomplices."

A hurdle on the path for this trial could be the judicial system itself, the Executive Secretary for the Network of Organisations for Transparency and Analysis of Budget (a local human rights group) warned.

"The CNSP (National Council for the Safeguard of the Homeland) must have all the evidence it needs before handing him over to the courts, and handing over a president to the courts means removing him from office. With the coup d'état, the impeachment is already done," Ali Idrissa said. 

"Today, our greatest concern is the appointment of this Minister of Justice, who, in our view, does not guarantee a free justice system."

Ecowas and the US department of State said Monday the move to prosecute Bazoum did not "contribute to a peaceful resolution of the crisis."

Nigeriens have been living under sanctions imposed by ECOWAS and WAEMU.

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