General Abdourahamane Tchiani and the presidential guards who staged a coup that overthrew President Mohamed Bazoum on July 26 accuse Bazoum of treason and are vowing to bring him to justice. The 63-year-old former Niger president has been locked up in the basement of his building in the capital city of Niamey since July 26. 

The Economic Community of West African Countries (ECOWAS; also known as CEDEAO in French and Portuguese) has condemned the coup, saying it hinders the proper transfer of power, which should take place through a democratic and constitutional process, and has asked the junta to immediately return power to the hands of the elected president. If they do not, there will be military intervention, they warn. In response, the junta has announced it will kill the deposed president if any military intervention occurs on Niger’s soil. 

  After the ECOWAS ultimatum, Nigeria President Bola Timubu and other African heads of state held a meeting and approved the activation of ECOWAS Standby Forces. A special meeting will bring together the heads of the armed forces of the ECOWAS member countries on August 17 and 18 in Accra, Ghana. ECOWAS represents 15 member countries in West Africa. 

  On August 14 they wrote, “President Bazoum remains the democratically-elected President of the Republic of Niger recognized by ECOWAS and the international community. ECOWAS condemns his illegal detention and calls for his immediate release and reinstatement.” 

In advance of the meetings and possible military intervention by standby forces, supporters of the junta are staging mass conscription events.