ECOWAS suspends Guinea over coup, send mediators to capital
West Africa’s main regional bloc, The Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) has suspended Guinea’s membership following a recent coup in the country, Burkina Faso’s foreign minister Alpha Barry disclosed this on Wednesday after a virtual crisis summit.
The ECOWAS leaders also agreed to send a high-level mission to Guinea, In a communique issued after the virtual meeting of the organisation, the visit of the ECOWAS mission would be led by Ghanaian Foreign Minister Shirley Ayorkor Botchwey with representatives from Nigeria, Burkina Faso, and the ECOWAS Commission.
“At the end of that mission, ECOWAS should be able to re-examine its position,” Alpha Barry, Burkina Faso’s foreign minister, told reporters in Ouagadougou after the meeting.
The move comes after Guinean special forces led by Lieutenant Colonel Mamady Doumbouya seized power on Sunday and arrested president Alpha Conde, sparking international condemnation.
Conde had come under increasing fire for perceived authoritarianism.
The 83-year-old became the first democratically elected president in 2010 and was re-elected in 2015.
But last year, he pushed through a new constitution that allowed him to run for a third term in October 2020.
The move sparked mass demonstrations in which dozens of protesters were killed. Conde won the election but the political opposition maintained that the poll was a sham.
Regional bloc ECOWAS convened an extraordinary virtual summit to discuss the turmoil in Guinea on Wednesday.
Afterwards, Barry said that ECOWAS would also request that the Africa Union and United Nations endorse the ECOWAS decision to suspend Guinea.
The bloc’s decision comes after the coup sparked broad diplomatic condemnation, but was also met with jubilation in some parts of the capital, Conakry, where residents turned out on the streets to applaud passing soldiers.
Elsewhere in the region, Mali’s military staged coups in August 2020 and then again in May this year. ECOWAS condemned the coups and temporarily imposed sanctions. It said on Tuesday it was concerned that Mali’s transitional government had not made sufficient progress towards organising elections next February as promised.