Nigerien Minister in Exile Calls for Bazoum’s Release Before Negotiations

Niger’s junta has no legitimacy to try President Mohamed Bazoum, exiled foreign minister Hassoumi Massoudou told RFI and France 24 in an interview.

Massoudou spoke of Bazoum’s legitimacy as Niger‘s democratically elected leader. Ecowas, the 15-nation regional political and economic bloc has also underlined Bazoum’s position.

The military generals, who seized power on 26 July, said on Sunday evening that they plan to prosecute Bazoum for alleged treason and security risks.

Niger’s military junta has no right to prosecute the country’s deposed leader, Massoudou said in the interview.

“It’s a hostage-taking situation and as a ransom of the hostage-taking, the junta asks to stay in power through a transition. The goal of all putsches is a transition.

“Ecowas can no longer accept that the law of arms prevails over the law of the ballot box.”

🚨 BREAKING: Hassoumi Massoudou, the Minister of Foreign Affairs of the deposed president Mohamed Bazoum, stated, “There is no question of talking about transition.”— mansa 🇲🇱 (@mansam00sa) August 14, 2023

Massoudou called for constitutional order to be restored through negotiations.

“I think there is no choice and that Bazoum will necessarily be free,” he added. “I do not see how they can continue in this trajectory.”

Since Bazoum was ousted by members of the presidential guard, he has been under house arrest with his wife and son in the presidential compound in the capital, Niamey.

International pressure

The junta has faced mounting international pressure to release and reinstate him.

Immediately after the coup, Ecowas gave the regime seven days to return Bazoum to power and threatened to use military force if that did not happen.

However, the deadline passed with no action taken by either side.

A military intervention is on the Ecowas agenda but can still be avoided, Massoudou insisted.

“There is no situation of conflict between Nigeriens. There is an undemocratic situation that has been created by the junta and Ecowas is determined not to accept this.”


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