UN alarmed by appalling living conditions of Niger’s president

UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres expressed concern Wednesday over the reportedly deplorable conditions that Niger’s president and his family are living under while in arbitrary detention.

A UN spokesperson issued a statement following reports that Mohamed Bazoum and his family are living without electricity, water, food or medicine.

“The Secretary-General is very concerned over the deplorable living conditions that President Bazoum and his family are reported to be living under as they continue to be arbitrarily detained by members of the Presidential Guard in Niger,” he said.

Guterres reiterated his concern over the health and safety of the president and his family and once again called for his immediate, unconditional release and his reinstatement as head of state.

“The Secretary-General is also alarmed over continuing reports about the arrest of several members of the government. He urgently calls for their unconditional release and for the strict adherence to Niger’s international human rights obligations,” the spokesperson added.

Bazoum was ousted on July 26 in a military coup led by Gen. Abdourahamane Tchiani, the former commander of Niger’s presidential guard, who has declared himself the head of a transitional government.

Since then, Bazoum has reportedly been held hostage at the presidential palace in the capital Niamey.

He and his family are being detained under “cruel” and “inhumane” conditions without access to running water, electricity, fresh goods or doctors, his Nigerien Party for Democracy and Socialism-Tarayya said in a statement.

The junta did not immediately comment on Bazoum’s living conditions.

But denouncing the living conditions, the party called for the intervention of the international community to secure his freedom from house arrest and restore constitutional order.

The junta has vowed that it will not bow to pressure to cede power as demanded by the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS).

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