Northern Nigerian Breaking News

Finally, Niger junta grants Bazoum access to his doctor

Niger President Mohamed Bazoum who has been detained since being ousted by members of his guard last month was seen by his doctor Saturday, his entourage said, amid mounting concern.

The president “had a visit by his doctor today”, a member of his entourage told AFP, adding the physician had also brought food for Bazoum, his wife and son who are being held with him.

“He’s fine, given the situation,” the source added.

Fears have been mounting over the health and detention conditions of democratically elected Bazoum, his wife and 20-year-old son since the military seized power and took them captive on July 26.

The European Union and the African Union have joined others in sounding the alarm for Bazoum.

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UN rights chief Volker Turk said Bazoum’s reported detention conditions “could amount to inhuman and degrading treatment, in violation of international human rights law”.

Top US diplomat Antony Blinken said he was “dismayed” by the military’s refusal to release Bazoum’s family as a “demonstration of goodwill”.

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Human Rights Watch said it had spoken to Bazoum earlier this week. The 63-year-old described the treatment of himself, his wife and son as “inhuman and cruel”, HRW said.

CNN reported last week that Bazoum was being kept isolated and forced to eat dry rice and pasta by those who overthrew him.

Meanwhile, the president’s daughter, who was on holiday in France when her family was detained, said she is in near daily phone contact with her father, mother and brother, who she says are living without clean water and relying on supplies of rice and pasta, although their gas oven is running out of fuel.

“The situation of my family is very difficult currently,” she said by phone from Paris. “They are staying in the dark, and the weather in Niger is very difficult. So it’s very sad that they are always in the dark and the house is very hot … it’s OK for them, they say they will keep fighting, but it’s hard for [me and my two siblings abroad] to see our family in this situation and they can’t go out.”

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Her father and mother had lost about 5kg each, while her 22-year-old brother, Salem, who is being held with his parents, has lost 10kg, she said.

“This is very dangerous, [the coup leaders] are doing it to put pressure on them, but it’s not fair to see them in this situation,” she said.

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“The food that they have in the fridge, they can’t use it any more. They do not have meat or fresh vegetables, so they have stuff like rice and pasta and is only the thing that they are eating currently, which is not good for their health, you understand you can’t eat only rice and pasta always, day and night,” she said. “So for their health, it’s dangerous. They do not even have clean water to drink, and the gas to cook will end soon too. So what will they eat after that, because they don’t want to let anyone come to see them.”

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