United Nations Secretary-General, Antonio Guterres is “very concerned” about the living conditions and safety of detained Nigerien President Mohamed Bazoum and his family, according to a spokesperson for the UN chief.
The UN in a statement, therefore, once again called for his immediate and unconditional release.
“The secretary-general is very concerned over the deplorable living conditions that President Bazoum and his family are reported to be living under as they continue to be arbitrarily detained by members of the Presidential Guard in Niger.”
“The secretary-general reiterates his concern over the health and safety of the president and his family and once again calls for his immediate, unconditional release and his reinstatement as Head of State,” the statement read.
In text messages to a friend, Bazoum said he was being held in isolation and forced to eat dry rice and pasta, CNN reported.
The President said he had been “deprived of all human contact since Friday”, with no one supplying him food or medicine.
Guterres is also “alarmed over continuing reports about the arrest of several members of the Government.”
He urged the coup leaders in Niger to adhere to “Niger’s international human rights obligations” and release them unconditionally, the spokesperson added.
On July 26, Niger’s presidential guard removed Bazoum from power.
The guard’s commander, Gen. Abdourahmane Tchiani, proclaimed himself the country’s new leader.
The caretaker National Council for the Safeguard of the Homeland closed the country’s borders, brushing aside security agreements with France, the country’s former coloniser.
Bazoum and several ministers in his government were detained by the coup leaders.
The Bazoum-led Nigerien Party for Democracy and Socialism said earlier on Wednesday that the rebels were holding the president and his wife in their official residence without electricity, water or fresh food.
The coup has left the impoverished nation even more isolated, with foreign aid slashed and regional powers threatening to put troops on the ground.
The US has also said it is “greatly worried” about Bazoum’s health and the safety of his family, after the president was reported to be held with no water or electricity.
Secretary of State Antony Blinken has spoken with the detained leader over the phone, Washington confirmed on Wednesday, following unsuccessful attempts from State Department officials to meet him during an unannounced visit on Monday.