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2 detained in Niger baby trafficking case

06 January 2015, 10:30

Niamey - Two of the defendants in a baby trafficking case in Niger were brought before prosecutors on Monday accused of trying to leave the capital during their trial, a defence lawyer said.

Hadiza Amadou, wife of former parliament speaker Hama Amadou, was arrested while travelling to her home region in western Niger.

A co-defendant, former bank manager Moussa Haitou, was also detained while en route to his home village south of the capital Niamey, the lawyer said.

The pair are among around 20 other senior political, military and business figures are charged over the trafficking of around 30 babies from Niger's more populous neighbour, Nigeria

The accused also include the former speaker who is being tried in his absence after who fled to France last year after also being implicated in the affair.

Bail conditions

Both Haitou and Hadiza Amadou spent the weekend in police custody before being brought before a prosecutor in Niamey for allegedly flouting their bail conditions, another defence lawyer told AFP.

The defendants are accused of taking illegal custody of children born in clinics that offer infants for sale.

Authorities in Nigeria have raided several so-called "baby factories" in recent years.

Amadou, a former supporter of President Mahamadou Issoufou who switched camps to the opposition in 2013, has called the case a "plot" aimed at discrediting him ahead of the next presidential election in 2016.

The charges carry a sentence of up to eight years imprisonment.

The trial was adjourned on Friday until January 30.



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