US Officials Fear for the Safety of Niger’s President

( – The US State Department’s spokesperson Matthew Miller said on August 9 there’s “growing concern” among Biden administration officials for the safety of Niger’s president Mohamed Bazoum. The Nigerien leader remains under house arrest after an apparent coup d’état perpetrated by the commander of his presidential guard Abdourahmane Tchiani on July 26.

During a press conference, Miller told reporters “We are greatly worried” about the health and personal safety of Bazoum and his family. He also said the Nigerian president has been held “in isolation” all these weeks, which he has described as a concerning situation for everyone in the Biden administration.

While the spokesperson didn’t provide specific details about Bazoum’s confinement conditions, he told reporters the State Department has received reports on the matter. He explained these allege that the Nigerien president is being denied access to electricity, running water, and some other supplies.

Over the last few weeks, US President Joe Biden has formally called Nigerian authorities to immediately release Bazoum. He even warned in a statement that Washington could take action, as he pointed out that the African nation is currently facing a “grave challenge” to its democracy.

During the rebellion against Bazoum, Tchani led a group of soldiers and placed the president and his family under house arrest in the capital city of Niamey. After that, he and the soldiers announced during a televised speech that they have “ended Bazoum’s regime.” Tchani then explained he decided to take this action because of the widespread crisis that Niger has been “suffering” over the last few years. He noted that the worst elements of this crisis have been the “bad” social and economic governance along with the “continuing degradation” of the country’s security.

The group, which has named itself National Council for Niger’s Safeguarding, said that every institution in the country has been suspended. The mutinous group also noted that Nigerien authorities closed land and aerial borders, and imposed a curfew that will last until “this situation” is stabilized.

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