Niger’s military rulers said they had foiled an attempt by the former president they ousted in a coup in July, Mohamed Bazoum, to escape their custody on Thursday.
“At around three in the morning, the ousted president Mohamed Bazoum and his family, his two cooks and two security elements, tried to escape from his place of detention,” the regime’s spokesman Amadou Abdramane said on state television on Thursday.
Abdramane added that the escape bid failed and “the main actors and some of the accomplices” were arrested.
The escape plan had involved Bazoum at first getting to a hideout on the outskirts of the capital Niamey, said Abdramane.
They had then planned to fly out on helicopters “belonging to a foreign power” towards Nigeria, he added, denouncing Bazoum’s “irresponsible attitude”.
Since he was toppled by the military on July 26, Bazoum has refused to resign. Until now, he had been held at his residence in the heart of the presidential palace along with his wife Haziza and son Salem.
In September, Bazoum’s lawyers said he filed a legal case with a court of the Economic Community of West African States against those who deposed him.
They also said they were taking his case to the United Nations Human Rights Council.
The army officers who overthrew Bazoum cited as justification the deteriorating security situation in the country because of jihadist attacks.