Mohamed Bazoum, the former president who was ousted in a coup in July this year, on Thursday attempted to escape from custody but was foiled by Niger’s military rulers.
Since Bazoum was dethroned by the military on July 26, he refused to denounce the power. Therefore, he had been in house detention along with his wife Haziza and son Salem in the heart of the presidential palace.
The Bazoum’s lawyers filed a legal case with a court of the Economic Community of West African States against those who deposed him in September and also said that the case will as well taken to the UN Human Rights Council.
According to the military officers who deposed Bazoum, they cited the deteriorating security situation in the country because of jihadist attacks as the reason for taking over the power.
Niger is facing two jihadist insurgencies- a spillover in its southeast from a long-running conflict in neighboring Nigeria; and an offensive in the west by militants crossing from Mali and Burkina Faso.
The regime’s spokesman Amadou Abdramane said on state television that: “At around three in the morning, the ousted president Mohamed Bazoum and his family, his two cooks and two security elements, tried to escape from his place of detention,”
“The main actors and some of the accomplices” were arrested, he added.
The escape plan had involved Bazoum at first getting to a hideout on the outskirts of the capital Niamey.
They had then planned to fly out on helicopters “belonging to a foreign power” towards Nigeria, he added, denouncing Bazoum’s “irresponsible attitude,” Abdramane disclosed.
An investigation has been launched though Abdramane did not specify where the former president and the family are being held now.
However, the army spokesman Pierre Gaudilliere told AFP that On Thursday, the first group of French soldiers, ordered to leave Niger by the military rulers, arrived by road in N’Djamena, the capital of Chad.
He said: “convoy has arrived without any particular problems” in N’Djamena after 10 days on the road and in coordination with Nigerien forces.Pierre Gaudilliere