Junta spokesman Colonel Amadou Abdramane said in a statement read on state TV late Sunday that military authorities had “gathered the necessary evidence to prosecute the ousted president for high treason and undermining Niger’s internal and external security”. ”
Abdramane also said that a disinformation campaign was launched against the junta “to try to derail any negotiated solution to the crisis in order to justify military intervention in the name of ECOWAS”.
The African Union, the European Union, the United States and the United Nations have all said they are concerned about the conditions in which Bazoum is being held.
Bazoum’s political party has said that his family has no access to running water, fresh food, or doctors, and Bazoum told Human Rights Watch that his son needed to see a doctor because of a serious heart condition.
But the junta said on Sunday that Bazoum was seeing his doctor regularly and the last visit was on 12 August.
“After the visit, the doctor did not express any concerns about the state of health of the ousted president and his family members,” Abdramane said.
West Africa’s main regional bloc ECOWAS is expected to push for more talks with the junta on Monday, indicating a possible willingness to find a diplomatic solution to the standoff over the July 26 coup.
The bloc’s parliament said on Saturday it wanted to send a committee to meet the junta in Niamey, but the proposed timing of that mission was unclear.
The Peace and Security Council of the 55-nation African Union is also expected to meet on Monday to discuss the situation in Niger, indicating a level of concern over the potential consequences of the seventh coup in West and Central Africa in three years.
American, French, German and Italian troops are stationed in Niger, a region where local affiliates of al Qaeda and Islamic State have killed thousands and displaced millions.
Meanwhile, Russian influence has grown as insecurity grows, democracy erodes, and leaders seek new partners to restore order.
Western powers fear Russia’s clout in Niger could increase if the junta follows Mali and Burkina Faso, which drove out troops from former colonial power France after a coup in those countries.