Niger Junta opposes agreement to release overthrown president

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Ousted President of Niger Republic, Muhammad Bazoum

The person in charge of Niger’s military has said no to letting the former president go free in return for lifting the sanctions on the country.

Ecowas, a group of countries in West Africa, offered to help after a meeting on Sunday.

It has asked many times for Mohamed Bazoum to be let go since he was put on house arrest in late July.

His family says they haven’t heard from him since he tried to escape from detention on 19 October.

On Sunday, leaders from Ecowas met to talk about the problems in the region. There have been military takeovers in Niger, Mali, Burkina Faso, and Guinea in the past year, and there have been two attempted coups in other places recently.

Ecowas keeps asking Niger’s military leaders to bring back civilian government as soon as they can. The group said they would send soldiers and stop trading with the country, but it didn’t work.

On Sunday, the alliance joined with local and international partners to ask the junta to let Mr. Bazoum go

It also asked the military leaders to make the change to civilian rule happen faster. Right now, they plan for it to take three years.

Ecowas did not say how long a transition period should be.

Later today, the military leader of Niger, Gen Abdourahamane Tchiani, told the state broadcaster RTN that Mr Bazoum will not be set free.

Gen Tchiani agreed to make the change happen faster, but didn’t say how much faster.

Ecowas said it will keep its penalties in place for Niger after the general spoke.

However, it said it would make a group to work with Niger’s military leaders on figuring out a plan for change. Depending on how those discussions go, the restrictions would slowly be lifted.

On October 19, Mr. Bazoum and his family, along with some other people, tried to use a helicopter to escape from being confined, but they were not successful.

Relatives said they last spoke to him the day before he planned to escape.

Since the takeover, the family members have talked about the “cruel” way they have been treated by the new military government.

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