Guinea suspended from West African regional bloc after coup

In this image grab made from video, unidentified soldiers patrol in a vehicle near the office of the president in the capital Conakry, Guinea, Sept 5, 2021. (PHOTO / AP)

West African leaders suspended Guinea from the regional economic bloc and urged the junta to immediately restore constitutional order following the coup that deposed President Alpha Conde.

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The leaders are very worried about the socio-political situation in Guinea following the Sept 5 coup and the arrest of President Alpha Conde. They call for the immediate release of Conde and for the junta to restore constitutional order.

Alpha Barry, foreign minister, Burkina Faso  

The Economic Community of West African States said Guinea was banned from all its deciding bodies until further notice. A high-level Ecowas delegation will visit Guinea on Thursday to meet with the military junta, Burkina Faso’s Foreign Minister Alpha Barry told reporters in the capital, Ouagadougou, following a virtual summit of West African heads of state.

“The leaders are very worried about the socio-political situation in Guinea following the Sept 5 coup and the arrest of President Alpha Conde,” Barry said. “They call for the immediate release of Conde and for the junta to restore constitutional order,” he said.

In the final communique of the bloc’s summit, the coup was condemned “in the strongest terms,” and the leaders repeated their call for the immediate return to constitutional order without specifying that it wants Conde back as leader.

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Colonel Mamady Doumbouya, the head of Guinea’s special forces unit, deposed Conde in a putsch less than a year after he secured a third term in office. The coup plotters were quick to say they would honor agreements with miners, including United Co. Rusal and Rio Tinto Plc, who operate in Guinea, the world’s biggest exporter of bauxite and home to the largest untapped deposit of iron ore. 

Ecowas, a 15-nation bloc, urged the junta to rapidly begin a process that paves the way for the return of civilian rule, Barry said. He didn’t say whether that included reinstating the 83-year-old Conde.