West Africa’s main regional bloc imposed sanctions against the junta in Guinea on Thursday and demanded they return the country to constitutional rule within six months, the president of the bloc’s commission said.
After an emergency summit of the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) in Accra, Jean-Claude Kassi Brou said they would freeze the financial assets and impose travel bans for junta members and their relatives.
“In six months elections should be held,” Brou said at a briefing, calling for the immediate release of President Alpha Conde, who was ousted in a military coup last week.
Regional leaders who took part in the summit hailed the tough measures agreed by the bloc to West and Central Africa’s third coup since April. The political turbulence has intensified concerns about a backslide towards military rule in a resource-rich but poverty-stricken region.
Coup leaders in Guinea have not said how long the transitional government will last, or who will lead it.
The junta led by Mamady Doumbouya, a former member of the French Foreign Legion, is holding consultations this week with various public figures, groups and business leaders in the country to map a framework for the transition.
As part of the four-day consultation, the junta on Thursday met with Guinea’s main business lobby and executives of mining firms operating in its bauxite, gold, iron ore and diamond sectors.
Among the attendees at the talks in Conakry was the general manager of Guinea’s top bauxite producer Société Minière de Boké (SMB), Frederic Bouzigues.
“Messages have been exchanged, we indicated our engagement and our will to reassure all our investors in order to continue our work, address the challenges that we face,” he said, without sharing details on what was discussed with the junta.
SMB is owned by a consortium including Singapore shipping company Winning International Group, Shandong Weiqiao – a subsidiary of the world’s top private sector aluminium producer China Hongqiao – and Guinea’s UMS International.