Niger’s new rulers want to charge ousted President Mohamed Bazoum with high treason. This was announced by a spokesman for the junta, which has been in power since a coup almost three weeks ago, on national radio at night. Along with Bazoum, other of his “accomplices” would also have to answer in court.

Yesterday the junta in Niger was still open to negotiations with the West African group of states Ecowas. A few days after the coup, Ecowas had called on the new rulers to release the detained president.

Almost three weeks ago, the military declared the president ousted, then suspended the constitution and appointed an interim government of their own. President Bazoum has been held by the putschists ever since.

Niger, a country with around 26 million inhabitants and one of the poorest populations in the world, was one of the last democratic partners of the USA and European states in the Sahel region on the southern edge of the Sahara before the coup. The coup plunged the region into a political crisis.

At a special summit on Thursday, Ecowas decided to activate a military stand-by force to restore constitutional order after the coup d’état in Niger.