West African regional bloc suspends Guinea after coup

Special forces members take position during an uprising that led to the toppling of president Alpha Conde in Kaloum neighbourhood of Conakry, Guinea September 5, 2021. REUTERS/Saliou Samb/File Photo

CONAKRY, Sept 8 (Reuters) – West Africa’s main political and economic bloc suspended Guinea’s membership on Wednesday following a weekend military coup that ousted President Alpha Conde and dealt the latest in a flurry of setbacks to democracy in the region.

During a virtual summit, leaders from the 15-member Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) demanded a return to the constitutional order and Conde’s immediate release, and also agreed to send a high-level mission to Guinea as soon as Thursday, said Burkina Faso’s Foreign Minister Alpha Barry.

“At the end of that mission, ECOWAS should be able to re-examine its position,” Barry told reporters.

He did not announce any immediate economic sanctions against Guinea, as ECOWAS imposed against Mali following a coup there in August 2020.

Some experts say ECOWAS’s leverage with Guinea could be limited, in part because the country is not a member of the West African currency union and not landlocked like Mali.

The economic bloc’s response is being closely watched amid criticism from pro-democracy advocates that it has not stood up robustly enough in recent months against democratic backsliding in West Africa.

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About Cholo Brooks 15387 Articles
Joel Cholo Brooks is a Liberian journalist who previously worked for several international news outlets including the BBC African Service. He is the CEO of the Global News Network which publishes two local weeklies, The Star and The GNN-Liberia Newspapers. He is a member of the Press Union Of Liberia (PUL) since 1986, and several other international organizations of journalists, and is currently contributing to the South Africa Broadcasting Corporation as Liberia Correspondent.

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