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Growing Worries About Niger President Mohamed Bazoum’s Health

Mohamed Bazoum


Growing Worries About Niger President Mohamed Bazoum’s Health

Bazoum was lucky he was not taken anywhere,” Saidou said. “He was left in his palace with his phone. Those who did that don’t intend to hurt Bazoum.

Following almost three weeks of requesting assistance from the United States and other allies to reinstate Niger’s president, advocates and allies of the democratically elected leader have simplified their plea to save his life.

The Associated Press, Niger’s ambassador to the United States disclosed that President Mohamed Bazoum, leader of the solitary Western-aligned democracy across the expansive terrain of Africa’s Sahara and Sahel, is presently confined in a dimly lit basement of his presidential compound, along with his family.

The junta responsible for orchestrating his ousting has subjected him to isolation from critical provisions including food, electricity, and cooking gas.

“They are killing him,” said the ambassador, Mamadou Kiari Liman-Tinguiri, a close associate who maintains daily calls with the detained leader. The two have been colleagues for three decades, since the now 63-year-old president was a young philosophy instructor, a teacher’s union leader, and a democracy advocate noted for his eloquence.

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“The plan of the head of the junta is to starve him to death,” Liman-Tinguiri told AP in one of his first interviews since mutinous troops allegedly cut off food deliveries to the president, his wife and 20-year-old son almost a week ago.

“This is inhuman, and the world should not tolerate that,” the ambassador said. “It cannot be tolerated in 2023.”

Bazoum sits in the dark basement, the ambassador said. He answers the phone when a call comes in that he knows to be his friend or someone else he wants to speak to. The beleaguered president and his ambassador, whom junta members have declared out of a job, talk one or more times a day.

Since July 26, Bazoum has remained absent from public view, coinciding with military vehicles obstructing access to the presidential palace gates and security forces declaring their assumption of power. The president’s current situation cannot be independently ascertained.

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The United States, alongside the United Nations and other entities, has repeatedly voiced apprehension over what they have described as the worsening state of President Bazoum’s confinement. They have issued cautionary messages to the junta, asserting that they will hold the junta accountable for the welfare of both Bazoum and his family.

In another development, Human Rights Watch said on Friday that it had engaged in direct conversations with the incarcerated president as well as individuals within his inner circle. The organization reported that it had obtained accounts that paralleled the concerns regarding mistreatment and adverse conditions.

An activist aligned with Niger’s new military leadership has contradicted the reports of the president’s critical condition. Insa Garba Saidou, who openly supports the military rulers, stated that he was in communication with certain members of the junta.

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However, he did not disclose the source of his information concerning the president’s situation.

“Bazoum was lucky he was not taken anywhere,” Saidou said. “He was left in his palace with his phone. Those who did that don’t intend to hurt Bazoum.”

“There’s no intervention that can save Bazoum’s life. Bazoum wants to be president, right? They won’t save Bazoum’s life. I’m convinced of one thing. Even though the high officers of the junta won’t touch Bazoum, if one gunfire is shot at Niger’s border in order to re-establish Bazoum’s position, I’m sure there will be soldiers who will put an end to his life. It’s not a question of doing it. It is what it is. And therefore, ECOWAS will be accountable.”

Buhari Olanrewaju Ahmed, a seasoned investigative journalist and climate/environmental reporter with a decade of experience, unravels complex issues and amplifies critical voices. His in-depth investigative work and insightful reporting have earned him recognition as a trusted source of information. Ahmed's unwavering commitment to journalism and exceptional storytelling prowess make him a standout figure in investigative journalism. His work drives meaningful conversations, influences policy decisions, and inspires collective efforts toward a sustainable future.

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