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FOCUS ON AFRICA

ECOWAS Mediators Heading To Guinea To Meet Coup Leaders

A delegation from West Africa’s political and economic bloc, ECOWAS will head to Guinea on Friday, two days after it suspended the country’s membership in response to a military coup that removed President Alpha Conde.

The foreign ministers of Burkina Faso, Ghana, Nigeria and Togo are due to land in the capital, Conakry, as representatives of the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS), Alpha Barry, the Burkinabe member of the delegation, said on Thursday.

The high-level diplomatic mission is expected to demand the return to constitutional order and to push for the immediate release of Conde, who was arrested by special forces led by Lieutenant Colonel Mamady Doumbouya on Sunday.

ECOWAS has demanded 83-year-old Conde’s unconditional release but has made no mention of any possible sanctions.

Conde became the first democratically elected president in 2010 and was re-elected for a second term in 2015. Last year, he pushed through a constitutional change to allow himself to run for a third term, a move deemed illegal by his opponents.

ECOWAS was criticised at the time by activists for remaining silent about Conde’s third term, which would have allowed him to remain in power until 2030.

Conde went on to win a presidential election in October 2020. Violent protests erupted across the country in response to his re-election, resulting in dozens of protesters being killed.

Military leaders on Tuesday released about 80 political opponents that were jailed during the turbulent electoral period on a variety of charges, including breaching security, destroying public property and manufacturing weapons

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