Niger junta arresting ministers, politicians

The junta that took control of Niger on July 26 has arrested four ministers, a former minister, and the leader of deposed President Mohamed Bazoum’s party, diplomatic sources reported on Monday.

“After the president was detained last week, the putschists went on the attack again and carried out more arrests,” the Nigerien Party for Democracy and Socialism (PNDS) said in a statement to the media.

On Monday morning, the junta arrested Oil Minister Mahamane Sani Mahamadou, who is the son of the influential former president Mahamadou Issoufou, along with Mining Minister Ousseini Hadizatou, as reported.

Fourmakoye Gado, the head of the PNDS’s national executive committee, was also arrested, according to the report.

The junta had earlier arrested Interior Minister Hama Amadou Souley, Transport Minister Oumarou Malam Alma, and Kalla Moutari, an MP and former defense minister, as stated by the party.

The party called for the immediate release of the arrested ministers, expressing concern that Niger was at risk of transforming into a “dictatorial and totalitarian regime.”

A source close to the presidency disclosed that the minister for vocational teaching, Kassoum Moctar, had also been arrested.

The arrests were accompanied by a junta statement demanding that “all former ministers and heads of institutions” return their office cars by noon.

Last Wednesday, members of the presidential guard toppled Bazoum from power, with their leader, Abdourahamane Tiani, declaring himself the new leader of the country.

His claim remains unrecognized internationally, and the West African regional bloc ECOWAS has issued a warning of potential military intervention if the coup leaders do not relinquish power by Sunday.

In response to the political situation, Western allies of Niger have either suspended aid to the country or threatened to take such actions.

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