The new military authorities in Niger, who took control last week after a coup, have imprisoned at least 180 members of the overthrown democratically elected government. The previous ruling party confirmed this on Monday.
Foumakoye Gado, the head of the Nigerien Party for Democracy and Socialism (PNDS), Energy Minister Mahamane Sani Mahamadou, Mines Minister Ousseini Hadizatou, and other officials were detained, according to PNDS spokesman Hamid N’Gadé.
He said that the coup plotters had also detained the transport minister Oumarou Malam Alma, the interior minister Hama Adamou Souley, and his deputy Kalla Moutari.
According to N’Gadé, the “abusive arrests” were proof of the military’s “repressive, dictatorial, and unlawful behavior.”
Mohamed Bazoum, the PNDS’s democratically elected president of Niger, was determined to be ineligible for reelection on Wednesday by officers from General Omar Tchiani’s special squad.
On Friday, Tchiani declared himself the new emperor.
The West African nation’s constitution was suspended shortly after, and all constitutional institutions were disbanded.
The coup has received condemnation on a global scale.
The West African Community of States (ECOWAS) gave the coup leaders an ultimatum on Sunday, warning that it would use force if Bazoum wasn’t freed and put back in office within a week.
The military governments of Burkina Faso and Mali, two neighboring countries, advised ECOWAS against becoming involved on Monday.
The two transitional administrations jointly declared that any military action against Niger would amount to a declaration of war against Burkina Faso and Mali.
They warned that military action might have terrible effects and destabilize the entire sub-region.
Mali and Burkina Faso are both ECOWAS members.
The European Union (EU) reportedly supported the ECOWAS measures, according to a statement by EU foreign affairs secretary Josep Borrell on Monday.
Any other authority cannot be recognized because Bazoum is still the only head of state in the nation, according to Borrell.
Before the coup, the Sahel region, which has been devastated by Islamist militancy, looked on the former French colony of Niger as a bulwark of democracy.
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