Niger’s ousted president in ‘good spirits’  

iger’s ousted president is in “good spirits” despite being in detention without electricity and a lack of contact with relatives, his former advisor said Saturday.

Mohamed Bazoum, his wife and son are reportedly held hostage at his palace in the national capital of Niamey since a July 26 coup.

“President Mohamed Bazoum has high spirits, but no longer has any contact with his relatives,” Hamidou Amadou N’Gade, former adviser to the deposed president posted on Facebook, citing Bazoum’s doctor.

Amadou N’Gade said the president’s means of communication, particularly his mobile phones, are not operational after electricity was cut almost two weeks ago.

“It is urgent that the hostage-takers reconnect electricity in these times of hot weather and mosquitoes. Anything can happen to him out of sight and ears from the eyes and ears of the whole world and his family,” he wrote.

The visit was approved following growing international demands for his release.

Bazoum’s relatives told the media that his personal doctor “delivered food and medicine” Saturday and was able to speak to him, his wife and son.

This was the first visit to Bazoum since that of Chad’s transitional President Mahamat Idriss Deby, on July 31.

US Acting Deputy Secretary of State Victoria Nuland was prevented from seeing Bazoum when she visited Niamey on Aug. 7, after holding “frank and difficult” talks with junior officers.

Recent reports had painted a grim picture of Bazoum’s health since his overthrow.

UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres denounced “the deplorable living conditions” in which Bazoum and his family are said to be living.

Human Rights Watch demanded Friday that coup leaders ensure the safety and well-being of Bazoum, his family and others who are arbitrarily detained.

“Nigerien coup leaders are subjecting Bazoum and his family and undisclosed others to abusive treatment in violation of international human rights law,” Carine Kaneza Nantulya, deputy Africa director at Human Rights Watch, said in a statement.

Meanwhile, a delegation of religious leaders from Nigeria, led by respected scholar Sheikh Abdulahi Bala Lau, the national leader of the Jama’atu Izalatu Bidi’ah wa Ikamatus Sunnah, the largest Salafi movement in Nigeria, arrived Saturday in Niamey, according to media reports, in the latest diplomatic efforts to address the crisis.

Leaders of the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS), at an emergency summit Thursday in the Nigerian capital of Abuja, threatened to use force to restore constitutional order and reinstate Bazoum.

Gen. Abdourahamane Tiani, the former commander of Niger’s presidential guard declared himself the head of a transitional government after the military ousted Bazoum.

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