Deposed Nigerien President Mohamed Bazoum had been placed under house arrest since a military junta overthrew him in July.
Niger’s military government said Thursday it foiled a late-night escape attempt by deposed President Mohamed Bazoum to flee to neighboring Nigeria after being held in custody for nearly three months following his ouster in a coup.
Bazoum had planned to escape with his family and two domestic staff at around 3:00 am Thursday, the junta said, with the help of some security accomplices who arranged transport for them to be moved to the outskirts of Niger’s capital Niamey, from where they’ll be flown in two helicopters “belonging to a foreign power” to Nigeria, it added in a statement.
“The prompt reaction of the defense and security forces made it possible to thwart this plan to destabilize our country,” a junta spokesperson said, adding that “the main perpetrators and some of their accomplices have been arrested.”
Biden administration formally designates military takeover in Niger as a coup Bazoum’s whereabouts are not immediately known.
The deposed Nigerien leader – who has yet to resign as president– had been placed under house arrest since the military junta overthrew him on July 27.
In August, Bazoum said in text messages sent to CNN with his consent that he had been isolated, kept without electricity, and forced to eat dry rice and pasta by his captors.
Later that month, the junta said it had “gathered the necessary evidence” to prosecute Bazoum for “high treason.”