Former Niger Prime Minister Hama Amadou, a fierce rival of deposed president Mohamed Bazoum, returned to the country after more than two years in France, AFP learned Tuesday from his entourage.
“Mr. Hama Amadou is here. He arrived in Niamey around 1:30 a.m. (00:30 GMT) from Paris where he had gone for treatment for more than two years,” Abdou Rafa, one of his relatives, confirmed to AFP. Other members of Mr. Amadou’s entourage had announced his return on social networks.
Before his departure for France in April 2021, Mr. Amadou was in preventive detention for a month in a prison in Filingué, a town located 200 km west of Niamey.
He had been accused of being one of those responsible for the unrest following the proclamation of the results of the presidential election of February 21, 2021, won by Mohamed Bazoum , runner-up to outgoing President Mahamadou Issoufou .
Sick, the courts granted him two weeks’ authorisation in April 2021 to receive treatment in a Parisian hospital and he has not returned to Niger since.
After the coup d’état of July 26, Hama Amadou, also former president of the National Assembly (2011-2013), announced that he wanted to return to Niger, now led by a military regime headed by General Adbourahamane Tchiani.
“Hama Amadou is one of the greatest Nigerien politicians, it is entirely normal that he returns to his country (…) he will participate in the effort to mobilise all energies for the development of our country ” , commented the Prime Minister of Niger appointed by the regime, Ali Mahaman Lamine Zeine , during a press conference in early September.
He also assured that measures would be taken for the release of “political prisoners” .
Hama Amadou was twice Prime Minister of Niger, from 1995 to 1996 under the presidency of Mahamane Ousmane then from 2000 to 2007 under Mamadou Tandja .
Considered a serious challenger in the 2021 presidential election, Mr. Amadou was unable to run due to a one-year prison sentence in a baby trafficking case , which he described as a “conspiracy” to exclude it from the ballot.