The military leaders of Niger claim to have prevented Mohamed Bazoum, the previous president who was overthrown in a coup in July, from escaping custody.
According to the spokesperson for the regime, Amadou Abdramane, at approximately 3:00 AM, former president Mohamed Bazoum, along with his family, two cooks, and two security personnel, attempted to flee their place of confinement. This information was reported on state television.
The escape was unsuccessful and those primarily involved and some of their accomplices were apprehended, as stated in the Thursday evening broadcast. An inquiry is currently underway.
Abdramane stated that the plan for escape involved Bazoum reaching a hideout located on the outskirts of Niamey, the capital of Niger. They had intended to depart via helicopters belonging to a foreign country and head towards Nigeria. He criticized Bazoum for his reckless behavior.
After being overthrown by the military on July 26, Bazoum has refused to step down. He and his family, including his wife Haziza and son Salem, were initially detained at his residence within the presidential palace. It is currently unknown where they are being held.
In September, Bazoum’s attorneys announced that he had initiated a legal action with a court of the Economic Community of West African States against those who ousted him. They also stated their intention to bring his case before the United Nations Human Rights Council.
The military leaders who ousted Bazoum claimed that the increasing number of jihadist attacks in Niger was the reason for their actions.
The country of Niger is currently facing two militant uprisings: one that has spread from the south-eastern region due to a prolonged conflict in Nigeria, and another that is originating from Mali and Burkina Faso in the western region.
In the beginning of the month, Niger observed three days of national mourning in honor of 29 soldiers who were killed in a suspected terrorist attack. This was the deadliest attack since the military assumed control in July.
The initial batch of French troops, directed to leave Niger by the country’s military leaders following a coup, reached the city of N’Djamena in Chad on Thursday via road. According to French military representative Pierre Gaudillière, the convoy successfully completed a 10-day journey with no issues and in cooperation with Nigerien forces.
The soldiers will fly from Chad to France, and the retreat is estimated to finish by the end of December.
Approximately 1,400 troops were stationed in Niamey and western Niger to counter militant groups associated with Islamic State and al-Qaida. They brought along fighter jets, drones, helicopters, and armored vehicles.
France has stood behind Bazoum since the overthrow and is advocating for his freedom, along with multiple other nations and groups.