Regional bloc ECOWAS on Wednesday suspended Guinea from its activities and demanded the immediate and unconditional release of ousted President Alpha Conde, detained by the Col. Amandy Doumbouya-led military junta.
At the end of their extraordinary summit held by video conference, the regional leaders condemned Sunday’s coup against the Conde government and also demanded a return to constitutional order.
An ECOWAS mission led by Ghana’s Foreign Minister Shirley Ghana is to visit Guinea on Thursday to meet with the military junta.
The delegation will include officials from Nigeria, Burkina Faso and the ECOWAS Commission.
The coup makers, who claimed they toppled Conde because of corruption, nepotism and constitutional violations among other reasons, are apparently consolidating their hold on power.
They have lifted the night curfew they imposed, reopened the country’s closed borders and appointed regional governors after dissolving Conde’s government and suspending the national constitution.
They have also pledged to set up a government of national unity.
The Guinea coup came as no surprise following the national division and violence that followed Conde’s controversial decision to change the constitution to pave for his election for third term last October.
The ECOWAS summit also received briefing from former Nigerian President Goodluck Jonathan, the regional chief mediator on the political crisis in Mali, which has itself witnessed two military coups within one year.
The summit learnt that the Col Assimi Goita government-led transitional programme was not making much progress in terms of preparations for presidential legislative elections, which it promised.
The Guinea coup is similar to what happened in Mali, where the military struct in August 2020, and pro-democracy observers are wondering if the region is sliding back to the dark years of military dictatorships when the rest of world is consolidating democracy.