Niger’s President in ‘Good Spirits’ Amidst Challenging Junta Custody

Niger's President Mohamed Bazoum. PHOTO/FILE/AFP

Niger | The Black Examiner – Niger’s president remains in “good spirits” despite enduring challenging conditions while under the custody of the junta that toppled his government, as confirmed by his physician following a recent visit.

Mohamed Bazoum, accompanied by his son and wife, has been confined within the lower level of his Niamey palace since the coup that transpired on the 26th of July.

The physician relayed that “challenging living conditions persist, compounded by the ongoing absence of electricity,” according to statements cited by French public broadcaster RFI.

This visit, authorized amidst escalating global appeals for his release, denotes the initial external contact the president has encountered since his dethronement.

Reportedly, Mr. Bazoum, aged 63, has undergone a noticeable weight reduction, while his 20-year-old son, afflicted by a chronic medical ailment, has purportedly been denied proper care.

The doctor managed to engage in discussions with the Head of State, as well as his wife and son, and the doctor affirmed their satisfactory condition, the report from RFI relayed. Essential sustenance and medications were also provided by the doctor during the visit.

Subsequent to this visit, the president’s family communicated their relief, as conveyed by the radio station.

In an apparent response to widespread censure of the president’s detainment post-coup, the junta, led by General Abdourahmane Tchiani, took the step of arranging for the family’s medical practitioner to attend to them.

Zazia, the president’s 34-year-old daughter who was abroad during the coup, informed The Guardian of the family’s hardships. She revealed that her parents and sibling lacked access to clean water and electricity, subsisting on a diet of rice and pasta. The absence of power had led to the spoilage of perishable food items in the refrigerator.

“The prevailing circumstances confronting my family are exceedingly dire,” she communicated to the newspaper. “While they express their determination to persevere, it is truly distressing to witness our family enduring these conditions, unable to venture outside.”

The political landscape in Niger was altered when the military executed a coup on the 26th of July, ousting the democratically elected president.

This event mirrored similar seizures of power seen in neighboring Burkina Faso and Mali, transpiring against a backdrop of an Islamist insurgency and an expanding influence exerted by Russia in the broader Sahel region through its private military group Wagner.

Notwithstanding his captivity, Mr. Bazoum managed to have an article published in The Washington Post, wherein he asserted his status as a hostage and projected that the coup would bring about “catastrophic repercussions for our nation, our region, and the entire global community.”

Several weeks have elapsed since US President Joe Biden’s plea for the immediate release of Mr. Bazoum and the safeguarding of Niger’s hard-won democracy.

This entreaty followed the lapse of a deadline set by Ecowas, a regional coalition of West African nations, for the coup orchestrators to step down from power.

Despite the bloc’s warnings of potential military intervention, such actions have not been realized, and the junta persists in ignoring appeals for the liberation of the president.

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