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ECOWAS planned to deploy ‘democracy-stabilizing’ forces in countries with threats of military takeover

The West African regional bloc, ECOWAS has repeatedly stated its position on democratic rule as it goes ahead to create some stability in member states where there are threats of military takeovers. West Africa has experienced a series of military coups in the past 18 months – in Mali, Guinea Conakry, and now Burkina Faso.

These events prompted ECOWAS leaders to converge in Accra, Ghana for an extraordinary summit. The meeting was chaired by Nana Akufo-Addo. the current Chairman of ECOWAS and Ghana’s president. During the meeting, he vehemently condemned the recent attempted coup that happened in Guinea Bissau and expressed solidarity with Guinea Bissau’s president, Umaro Sissoco Embalo.

The bloc said on Thursday that it will deploy its ECOMIG forces in Guinea Bissau to help stabilize the country following a recent coup attempt. The government of Guinea Bissau announced earlier this week that members of its security forces foiled a coup and an assassination attempt on President Embalo. The government also reported that 11 people were killed during Tuesday’s attack – including seven members of the presidential guard who helped save the life of the President and his Prime Minister.

In Accra, ECOWAS released a communiqué which stated that the suspension of Burkina Faso from all of ECOWAS institutions is still in full force and has not been lifted. The only condition for its lifting is the return to its constitution. In line with that, a call was made for a transitional process to begin as well as schedule transitional dates in a short distance

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The leaders of the regional bloc ordered the new military government in Burkina Faso to set a smooth path for a transition to civilian rule as soon as possible.

ECOWAS also expressed that it will work hand-in-hand with the African Union in the provision of necessary support to the government of Guinea, Mali, and Burkina Faso in making sure that targets are met in their transition to a civil rule.

ECOMIG military forces have been deployed in The Gambia since 2017 and the bloc is planning to reinforce that with police officers from within the region. Recently, the Senegalese contingent of ECOMIG forces in The Gambia has been receiving criticism by the majority of Gambians. This comes after a series of incidents and the most recent one was a fight between Senegalese forces and rebels in Southern Senegal.

Gambians accused Senegalese forces of using Gambia to launch attacks on MFDC rebels thus endangering lives of Gambian citizens in border villages. In the recent attack, 2 Senegalese soldiers were reportedly killed and 9 captured by rebel forces. A Gambian local chief and a police officer were arrested by Senegalese forces and covertly sent to Dakar.

The MFDC rebel groups are located in the Southern Senegal region of Casamance and have been fighting for independence for the region since 1982.

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