Niger’s coup leaders have announced plans to prosecute ousted President Mohamed Bazoum for high treason and undermining national security.
Since July 26, Bazoum has been held in the basement of his palace after his military guards staged a coup.
BBC News reported that Bazoum was in “good spirits” despite being held in “difficult” conditions, according to his doctor after a visit over the weekend.
Saturday’s visit was approved amid growing international demands for Bazoum’s release.
However on Monday, the junta said in a statement read out on state TV that it had gathered evidence to prosecute “the deposed president and his local and foreign accomplices for high treason and undermining the internal and external security of Niger”.
It did not give further details.
The head of the presidential guards unit, Gen Abdourahmane Tchiani, declared himself Niger’s new ruler on 26 July after overthrowing him.
The Economic Community of West African States in its recent meeting declared that “no option was off the table” as it pursues negotiations with the coup leaders.
The regional bloc also ordered its military force to be on standby against Niger following the resolutions from the Abuja meeting held last Thursday.
The coup leaders have warned they will defend themselves against any intervention.
Ecowas has also imposed sanctions on the junta, including cutting electricity to Niger. This has caused blackouts in the capital Niamey, and other major cities.
On Saturday, a high-powered delegation of Muslim clerics from Nigeria met junta leaders in Niamey in a bid to mediate an end to the crisis.
Junta-appointed Prime Minister Ali Mahamane Lamine Zeine said he was optimistic that talks with Ecowas would take place in the coming days “to discuss how the sanctions against us will be lifted”.
MBazoum has been seen once since he was overthrown, in a photo released after he met Chad’s leader Mahamat Idriss Déby Itno.
Déby met both the junta and Bazoum soon after the coup in a failed bid to resolve the crisis.