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Escape attempt by ousted president Mohamed Bazoum foiled, says military

Now-ousted president Mohamed Bazoum speaks during a meeting with UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres in Niamey. 02/05/2022   -  
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Niger's military leaders say they have foiled an attempt by ousted president Mohamed Bazoum to escape their custody on Thursday.

Bazoum, who was overthrown by the military on July 26, attempted to flee in the night with his family, cooks and security, according to the regime's spokesman Amadou Abdramane.

Abdramane said that the escape bid failed and "the main actors and some of the accomplices" were arrested.

An investigation has also been launched.

The escape plan had involved Bazoum at first getting to a hideout on the outskirts of the capital Niamey, said Abdramane.

The former leader had then planned to fly out on helicopters belonging to a foreign power.

Since being overthrown, Bazoum had been held at the presidential palace in the capital Niamey, alongside his wife and son.

In September, his lawyers said he filed a legal case with a court of the Economic Community of West African States against those who deposed him and were also taking his case to the UN Human Rights Council.

The attempted escape comes as the first group of French troops arrived in neighbouring Chad on Thursday, after being ordered out by Niger's military rulers.

France has continued to support the ousted leader since the coup and is calling for his release.

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