West Africa’s main regional bloc, the Economic Community of West African states has suspended the membership of Guinea following the removal of the country’s 83-year-old President Alpha Conde.
The decision was made during an extraordinary virtual summit held on Wednesday by the 15-member states bloc. The body concluded that, a high-level mission will be sent to Conakry on Thursday to commence measures towards a return to constitutional rule.
Speaking on the development, Burkina Faso’s Foreign Minister, Alpha Barry said “at the end of that mission, ECOWAS should be able to re-examine its position.”
Meanwhile, in an earlier statement released by ECOWAS through its current Chairperson, Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo, the community condemned the coup led by Colonel Mamady Doumbouya and demanded the “immediate and unconditional release” of Alpha Conde.
“ECOWAS notes with great concern the recent political developments which have occurred in Conakry, capital of the Republic of Guinea. ECOWAS unreservedly condemns the attempted coup of Sunday, September 5, 2021,” the statement said.
The release dated Sunday, September 5, 2021 further stated that, “ECOWAS demands respect for the physical safety of the President of the Republic, Professor Alpha Condé, and his immediate and unconditional release, as well as that of all arrested persons. ECOWAS also demands a return to constitutional order on pain of sanctions.”
The regional bloc has faced criticisms for lack of proactivity in its operations; major among the concerns of the critics is the assertion that ECOWAS looked on for Conde to commit a constitutional coup by amending the country’s constitution to bid for a third term. Same argument was advanced by critics in the case of President Alassane Ouattara of Ivory Coast.