Niger’s Foreign Minister, Mohamed Bazoum, the president overthrown by a coup d’état in Niger, reported “pogroms” in the capital Niamey on Monday, without however specifying against whom they were directed.
“Currently in Niamey (…) there are pogroms by hordes of young people stirred up by racial and ethnic hatred (…) That’s why it’s urgent to stop this and put Niger back on a course of peace, stability and economic progress”, said Hassoumi Massaoudou in an interview with RFI and France 24.
However, he did not specify against whom these “pogroms” were directed. “The word that has been set free in Niamey is the word of racism, the word of intolerance”, he said, adding: “We have to stop this risk to the cohesion of our country, which is why we have to act quickly and put an end to what has just happened”.
Asked about the demonstrations in support of the soldiers who seized power on 26 July, he put their importance into perspective. “Those who are expressing themselves are the pro
junta, because the others are under threat of gunfire and bullets. It’s armed people against unarmed people”, he analysed.
Mr Massaoudou also firmly rejected the accusations of “high treason” made by the military regime against the overthrown president. “The junta has no legitimacy to judge anyone. What they have committed is more than treason, it is a criminal act, and they cannot morally claim to be judging anyone”, he said, adding that “it is completely Ubuesque, surreal, to hear these people talking about prosecuting President Bazoum”.
On Monday, the Community of West African States (ECOWAS) described as a “provocation” the threats by the military authorities to prosecute President Bazoum for “high treason”.
This threat is “a new form of provocation and contradicts the desire of the military authorities of the Republic of Niger to re-establish constitutional order by peaceful means”, according to ECOWAS.