ECOWAS says it will impose sanctions on Guinea’s coup leaders

4

West Africa’s main regional bloc imposed sanctions against the junta in Guinea on Thursday and demanded that the country return to constitutional rule within six months, the bloc commission chairman said.

After an emergency summit of the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) in Accra, Jean-Claude Kassi Brou said they would freeze financial assets and impose travel bans on board members and their families.

“Elections should be held in six months,” 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 participated in the summit praised the tough measures agreed by the bloc for the third West and Central African coup since April. Political turbulence has heightened concerns about a rollback to 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 board headed by Mamady Doumbouya, a former member of the French Foreign Legion, is consulting this week with various public figures, groups and business leaders in the country to map out a framework for the transition.

As part of the four-day consultation, the board met on Thursday with Guinea’s top business lobby group and executives from mining companies operating in its bauxite, gold, iron ore and diamond sectors.

Among those attending the talks in Conakry was the CEO of Guinea’s leading bauxite producer, Société Minière de Boké (SMB), Frederic Bouzigues.

“Messages have been exchanged, we indicate our commitment and our willingness to reassure all our investors to continue our work, address the challenges we face,” he said, without sharing details about what was discussed with the board.

SMB is owned by a consortium that includes Singaporean shipping company Winning International Group, Shandong Weiqiao, a subsidiary of the world’s leading private sector aluminum producer China Hongqiao, and UMS International of Guinea.

(REUTERS)