“It will not contribute to a peaceful resolution of this crisis,” a State Department spokesman said.

The State Department said on Monday that it would be “unwarranted and unjustified” if Niger’s military junta moved forward with its plan to prosecute ousted President Mohamed Bazoum on treason charges over his dealings with foreign leaders and organizations.

Military authorities who have taken over the nation, in the Sahel region of Africa, “gathered the necessary evidence” to prosecute Bazoum “for high treason and undermining the internal and external security of Niger,” junta spokesperson Col. Amadou Abdramane said in a statement read on state television on Sunday night, according to Reuters.

“This action is completely unwarranted and unjustified, and, candidly, it will not contribute to a peaceful resolution of this crisis,” State Department spokesperson Vedant Patel told reporters on Monday. “It is a further affront, in our opinion, to democracy and justice and to the respect of the rule of law, and a threat like this underscores the urgency of respecting the constitutional order in Niger.”

The latest threat against the detained president, less than three weeks after the coup, follows the junta’s warning last week that it would kill Bazoum if the Economic Community of West African States tried to reinstate him via military force.

As the West and neighboring countries worry about the fate of Niger, the State Department didn’t rule out supporting the use of military force if needed.

“ECOWAS has been … very clear publicly that military intervention should be a last resort, something that we agree with, and we continue to be focused on finding a diplomatic solution,” Patel said.


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