Niger presidential candidate ill, to be flown to Paris for treatment

Agence France-Presse
The COPA 2016 spokesman says Amadou will likely be admitted to the American Hospital in the west Paris suburb of Neuilly

HAMA AMADOU. Supporters in a bus carry a campaign poster for presidential candidate Hama Amadou which reads in French 'Vote, we will decide together' in Niamey, Niger February 13, 2016. File Photo by Arne Gillis/EPA

NIAMEY, Niger – Niger presidential candidate Hama Amadou, who was jailed for 4 months, is ill and will be flown on Wednesday, March 16, to Paris for medical treatment, just days before standing for election, an opposition spokesman said.

Amadou, 66, faces incumbent President Mahamadou Issoufou in a second-round run-off vote Sunday after campaigning from behind bars since being jailed on shadowy baby-trafficking charges in November.

Amadou was flown by helicopter to the capital Niamey from Filingue, the town where he was jailed some 180 kilometers (110 miles) away, and “will be directly evacuated to Paris,” said Ousseini Salatou, spokesman for the COPA 2016 opposition coalition. 

There was no immediate confirmation by the authorities but late Tuesday Justice Minister and government spokesman Marou Amadou said Amadou would be “evacuated” from Filingue due to a “chronic illness he has suffered for 3 years.” 

The COPA 2016 spokesman said Amadou would likely be admitted to the American Hospital in the west Paris suburb of Neuilly.

Amadou’s doctor Harouna Yacouba was arrested on Tuesday on grounds of “false news” after telling several TV stations his patient had been hospitalized with “worsening health.” 

Amadou picked up nearly 18% of the vote in the first round of the presidential election on February 21, running second to Issoufou who took 48% but failed to clinch an outright majority and avoid a second round run-off, as he had hoped. –