Ecowas calls for Guinea elections in six months

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Guinea’s coup leaders were sanctioned on Thursday, and elections were scheduled for in six months, as West African leaders demanded a speedy restoration to civilian authority after troops deposed President Alpha Conde earlier this month.

Guinea had already been suspended by the 15-member Ecowas regional bloc following Conde’s assassination on September 5 by a special forces commander who captured the president and declared a transitional transition.

Guinea’s military takeover has fueled international concerns about democratic backsliding in west Africa, drawing comparisons to Mali, which has experienced two coups since August last year.

“The heads of state insisted that the transition must be very short,” Ecowas Commission President Jean Claude Kassi Brou told reporters after leaders met in Accra for a summit on the Guinea crisis. 

“The transition should not last more than six months. In six months, elections should be held.”

In a communique, Ecowas said it would impose the sanctions of travel bans on members of the military junta and their family members and also freeze their financial assets. 

It called on African Union, United Nations and European Union to back the sanctions on the junta known as National Committee of Reconciliation and Development or CNRD by its French initials.

“By having specific, targeted sanctions to members of CNRD we are sending a strong signal to all those who are tempted to have this type of idea,” Kassi Brou said. “There will be a price, a very high price.” 

Ecowas had sent a mission to Guinea last week to meet with coup leader Lieutenant-Colonel Mamady Doumbouya and was due to take decisions on how to pressure the junta back to constitutional rule.

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