The new military rulers of Niger, who took over the government in a coup a few days ago, have detained at least one hundred and eighty (180) members of the ousted democratically elected administration. The previous ruling party said this on Monday.
The president of the Nigerien Party for Democracy and Socialism, Foumakoye Gado, Mines Minister, Ousseini Hadizatou and the Energy Minister, Mahamane Sani Mahamadou were among those detained, the party’s spokesman, Hamid N’Gadé said.
N’Gadé added that Transport Minister, Oumarou Malam Alma and his deputy, Kalla Moutari, including Interior Minister, Hama Adamou Souley were also detained by the coup plotters.
The “abusive arrests” were evidence of “the repressive, dictatorial and unlawful behaviour” of the military, N’Gadé said.
On Wednesday, officers from General Omar Tchiani’s elite unit declared Niger’s democratically elected President Mohamed Bazoum, of the PNDS, out of power. Tchiani later appointed himself as the new ruler on Friday.
Shortly afterwards, the coup plotters suspended the West African country’s constitution and dissolved all constitutional institutions. The coup has been internationally condemned.
The West African community of states ECOWAS issued an ultimatum to the coup leaders on Sunday saying that if Bazoum was not released and reinstated within a week, ECOWAS would take measures that could include the use of force.
On Monday, the military governments of neighbouring Burkina Faso and Mali warned ECOWAS against intervening.
Any military intervention against Niger would be equal to a declaration of war against Burkina Faso and Mali, a joint statement by the two transitional governments said.
However, in the meeting, which was chaired by its Chairman, President Bola Tinubu, ECOWAS gave the junta seven days ultimatum to reinstate President Mohamed Bazoum, who is being held captive or face sanctions.
Angered by the threat, Burkina Faso and Mali in the statement read on their national broadcasts on Monday night, urged the West African leaders to leave Niger alone, stressing that any funny move would result in “disastrous consequences”.
Part of the statement reads, “The transitional governments of Burkina Faso and Mali express their fraternal solidarity… to the people of Niger, who have decided with full responsibility to take their destiny in hand and assume the fullness of their sovereignty before history.
“Any military intervention against Niger would be tantamount to a declaration of war against Burkina Faso and Mali.”
According to report, the coup in Niger which occurred on July 26 has sent shockwaves across West Africa as fear gripped other neighbouring countries, including Nigeria.
Niger’s coup leaders named General Abdourahamane Tchiani, the former presidential guard chief, as Head of State.
According to the military, President Bazoum was overthrown over poor governance and discontent with the way he handled security threats from groups linked to al-Qaeda and ISIS.