The Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) on Thursday announced the immediate suspension of Guinea from further participating in its activities till further notice.
In announcing the suspension, ECOWAS authorities demanded the immediate and unconditional release of the ousted President, Alpha Conde, detained by the Colonel Amandy Doumbouya-led military junta.
The suspension order was announced at the end of its extraordinary summit held through video conference.
The regional leaders condemned in strongest possible terms in Sunday’s coup de tat against the Conde government and also demanded a return to constitutional order.
An ECOWAS mission led by Ghana’s Foreign Minister, Shirley Ghana, was to visit Guinea to meet with the military junta.
The delegation would 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, were apparently consolidating their hold on power.
Apart from lifting the night curfew they imposed, the coup plotters reopened the country’s closed borders and appointed regional governors after dissolving Conde’s government and suspending the national constitution.
The soldiers have also pledged to set up a government of national unity to accommodate all interest groups.
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 the way for his election for third term last October.
During the meeting, the ECOWAS summit also received a briefing from former Nigerian President, Goodluck Jonathan, who is 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 struck in August 2020, and pro-democracy observers were wondering if the region was sliding back to the dark years of military dictatorships when the rest of world is consolidating democracy.