The military government in Niger has reported that the ousted President Mohamed Bazoum attempted to escape his residence. Bazoum, who has been under house arrest since the military coup on July 26, 2023, is now being held in an undisclosed location following the alleged escape attempt. According to the National Council for the Protection of the Fatherland (CNSP), Bazoum, along with his family, two cooks, and security elements, tried to flee the residence at around 3 AM.
Their alleged plan was to escape to an unmarked vehicle that would transport them to a hideout in the Tchangearey district in the northern outskirts of Niamey. From there, they intended to take helicopters, allegedly belonging to a foreign power, to Bimi Kebbi in Nigeria. However, military forces apprehended the group, as stated by Colonel Major Amadou Abdramane, who claimed that “the strong reaction of the defence and security forces thwarted this plan.”
Bazoum’s lawyers deny the escape accusations, but the CNSP has confirmed that some individuals involved were arrested. An investigation into the event has been opened. Colonel Major Abdramane accused Bazoum of displaying an “irresponsible attitude” and attempting to “destabilize our country” by escaping to Nigeria.
The military coup in Niger has received widespread condemnation, with concerns raised by the United Nations regarding Bazoum’s safety during the government transition. Bazoum, who was democratically elected as Niger’s president in 2021, has refused to resign from his position despite being held captive by military authorities.