Niger presidential candidate ill

2016-03-16 21:00
File: Hama Amadou, a previous head of Nigers' parliament, delivering a speech at the Parliament House in Niamey. (Issouf Sanogo, AFP)

File: Hama Amadou, a previous head of Nigers' parliament, delivering a speech at the Parliament House in Niamey. (Issouf Sanogo, AFP)

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Niamey - Niger's ailing presidential candidate Hama Amadou, who was jailed for four months, was evacuated Wednesday to Paris for medical treatment just days before a run-off vote, an aide said.

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

He was flown earlier Wednesday by helicopter to the capital Niamey from Filingue, the town where he was jailed about 180km away, said Ousseini Salatou, spokesperson for the COPA 2016 opposition coalition.

Amadou's aide Abdou Rafa told AFP that "the plane for Paris had taken off" a little before 1500 GMT.

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

The COPA 2016 spokesperson 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 hospitalised 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.

Read more on:    hama amadou  |  niger  |  west africa

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