The Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) has expressed its disapproval of the recent threat made by the military junta in the Niger Republic to prosecute the deposed President Mohamed Bazoum.
Responding to the junta's announcement of plans to charge Bazoum with treason, the regional bloc criticized the move, stating that it contradicts the junta's previous commitment to resolving the crisis through peaceful means.
On Sunday evening, August 13, the coup leaders declared their intention to prosecute Bazoum for "high treason and undermining the internal and external security of Niger." This decision was reportedly based on evidence of the detained president's communication with nationals, foreign heads of state, and officials from international organizations.
However, on Monday, August 14, ECOWAS released a statement expressing its astonishment at the threats. The statement emphasized that such actions are provocative and run counter to the reported willingness of the military authorities in Niger to restore constitutional order through nonviolent methods.
The 63-year-old Bazoum and his family have been held captive at the president's residence following the coup. Concerns from the international community have been growing about their well-being.
In response to the coup, ECOWAS had already imposed various sanctions on the junta leaders and has been urging the military to return power to the democratically elected government. The bloc has consistently emphasized the importance of avoiding the use of force in resolving the crisis.