Son of Niger’s Ousted President, Salem Bazoum, Released on Bail by Military Tribunal

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A military tribunal in Niamey has granted provisional release to Salem Bazoum, the son of Niger’s deposed President Mohamed Bazoum, according to a court document obtained by AFP.

This development follows the seizure of power by the presidential guard on July 26, 2023, resulting in the detention of Salem and his parents.

The court document specifies that 22-year-old Salem Bazoum is required to be available for judicial proceedings as necessary.

While Salem has been released, his parents remain in custody at the presidential residence.

Sources informed AFP that following his release, Salem departed for Lome, the capital of Togo, arriving there on Monday evening.

The Togolese government, confirming his release, acknowledged the mediation efforts of Togo and Sierra Leone but did not disclose Salem’s current location.

Since the overthrow of elected President Bazoum, Niger has been under military rule, prompting widespread international criticism.

General Abdourahamane Tiani, the current military leader, has expressed intentions for a transition to civilian government, a process estimated to take up to three years.

Togo’s involvement in the mediation process is part of a broader West African initiative to engage with the Nigerien military regime.

Recent diplomatic efforts, including Togo Foreign Minister Robert Dussey’s visit to Niamey and meetings with Niger’s junta-appointed prime minister, highlight these regional diplomatic initiatives.

The new military regime in Niger has notably distanced itself from traditional European allies, particularly France, and has strengthened ties with neighboring Mali and Burkina Faso, both governed by military juntas.

This shift coincided with the withdrawal of the last French troops from Niger in December.

Niger, Mali, and Burkina Faso continue to face jihadist violence, particularly in the Tri-border area.

The political upheaval has intensified economic and humanitarian challenges in one of the world’s poorest countries, with ECOWAS imposing stringent economic and financial sanctions following Bazoum’s removal.

However, some neighboring countries, such as Togo and Benin, are showing flexibility toward Niger’s new authorities. For instance, Benin recently resumed trade through the port of Cotonou with Niger, lifting a five-month suspension.

Niger remains suspended from ECOWAS, with the regional body demanding Bazoum’s release and reinstatement as conditions for sanction relief.

The political landscape in Niger remains unstable, with several former officials of the ousted government arrested or in exile, including former energy minister Ibrahim Yacoubou, who was apprehended last week.


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