Niger Prosecutor Says Ousted President Tried To Escape

A top prosecutor in Niger said on Tuesday that president Mohamed Bazoum, ousted in a coup, had sought to escape house arrest despite denials by his lawyers.

Since he was toppled by the military on July 26, Bazoum had been held at his residence in the heart of the presidential palace along with his wife and son.

The alleged escape plan involved getting to a hideout on the outskirts of the capital Niamey before taking helicopters “belonging to a foreign power” towards Nigeria, a regime spokesman said on state television.

“These are real facts and not staged,” prosecutor general based at the court of appeal Salissou Chaibou said in a statement also broadcast on national television.

Chaibou also confirmed the alleged “exfiltration plan” detailed by the military regime.

“On the night of October 18” former president Bazoum, “his family, his security and his cooks, carrying various packages, were stopped” by “agents of the presidential guard, as they were heading towards the exit of the palace”, said Chaibou.

“A careful search of the parcels and a search of the former president’s residence led to the discovery of large sums of money in (local) and foreign currencies, as well as various precious goods,” he said.