World Guinea junta defies poll pressure, rules out exile for ex-president
ECOWAS suspends Guinea after coup, says it will send mediators
During virtual summit, regional bloc demands return to constitutional order and Alpha Conde’s immediate release.During an extraordinary virtual summit on Wednesday, leaders from the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) demanded a return to the constitutional order and the immediate release of Conde, who was arrested by special forces led by Lieutenant Colonel Mamady Doumbouya on Sunday.
Guinea's ruling junta on Saturday ruled out exile for detained former president Alpha Conde and said transition towards civilian rule would be done in accordance with "the will of the people".
The statement from the ruling council came in defiance of international pressure for Conde's release and a six-month timetable for elections after a coup on September 5 sparked global condemnation.
It also followed the visit on Friday of a mission from ECOWAS led by two heads of state from the 15-member West African bloc.
ECOWAS envoys meet Guinea coup leaders, say Conde in good health
Delegation from West Africa’s main bloc meet Guinea’s overthrown president and the new military rulers who removed him.The visit by the delegation of the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) on Friday came as diplomatic pressure mounted on Guinea’s ruling military in the wake of Sunday’s power grab.
Mamady Doumbouya, the colonel who led the coup, told the visiting delegation that "it was important for ECOWAS to listen to the legitimate aspirations of the people of Guinea," said a junta spokesman, Colonel Amara Camara, at the ruling council's first news conference on the six-month deadline.
Doumbouya stressed the need not to repeat the "mistakes of the past", recalling that national consultations to outline the transition had begun on Tuesday and that "only the sovereign people of Guinea will decide its destiny", Camara said.
"It is also clear to all parties that the former president will remain in Guinea," he added.
- 'Frank and fraternal talks' -
During their visit, the Ghanaian head of state Nana Akufo-Addo, whose country holds the rotating presidency of ECOWAS, and his Ivorian counterpart Alassane Ouattara, presented the junta with the organisation's demands for elections within six months.
Guinea: Setting up a green number "To report any abuse" of the security forces
© AFP - Cellou Binani members of the Guinean armed forces celebrate the arrest of the Guinean president, Alpha Condé, during a coup d'etat in Conakry on September 5, 2021. The junta, gathered in the National Committee of the Rally and Development, multiplies the announcements in order to organize the transition phase that opens: the dismantling of the advanced positions of the forces of Security across the capital, the release of political prisoners ...
They also insisted on the release of Conde.
"We had very frank, fraternal talks with Colonel Doumbouya and his associates and collaborators and I think that ECOWAS and Guinea will find a way to walk together," Akufo-Addo said at the end of the visit.
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The ruling council, which now designates Doumbouya as "president of the republic and head of state", said that consultation sessions scheduled for Friday with banks, insurance companies and unions would be held on Saturday.
The consultations will continue next week, it said, including Monday meetings with cultural actors, press associations and those within the informal sector.
The military has already held talks with political parties, religious leaders, the heads of mining companies, key players in this poor but resource-rich country, and other figures.
Guinea junta hosts talks on post-coup transition
Guinea's ruling military opened a four-day series of talks on Tuesday, intended to pave a return towards civilian rule after a putsch in the West African state. The junta, which has come under intense diplomatic pressure since seizing power on September 5 from president Alpha Conde, began talks with politicians and religious leaders on Tuesday. It will then meet civil-society figures, diplomats, trade unionists and mining executives through to Friday.
Local rights groups, including the Guinean Organisation for the Defence of Human Rights (OGDH), put out a statement voicing their concern over "respect for democratic principles and the rule of law" and called on the ruling junta to "communicate as soon as possible a roadmap for the transition that takes into account all the proposals arising from the consultations".
- Anti-Conde activists return from exile -
Public discontent in Guinea had been brewing for months before the coup over the leadership of Conde, 83.
A former opposition figure, Conde became Guinea's first democratically elected president in 2010 and was re-elected in 2015.
But last year, he pushed through a controversial new constitution that allowed him to run for a third term in October 2020.
The move sparked mass demonstrations in which dozens of protesters were killed. Conde won the election but the political opposition maintained the poll was a sham.
On Saturday four activists against Conde serving a third term returned to the country from exile and were met by cheering crowds at Conakry airport.
"Honour to the patriots" read one placard on display among the hundreds who waited hours for the exiles to return.
"We never doubted for a moment that we would win this fight," said Ibrahima Diallo, one of those returning.
Fellow returning activist Sekou Koundouno, expressed his relief that the people of Guinea "have rid themselves of the despot Alpha Conde who had taken the institutions and the army hostage".
Thousands flee Myanmar town after clashes with junta troops .
Thousands have fled a town in west Myanmar after days of fighting between anti-junta dissidents and the military, during which soldiers bombed civilian homes, residents and local media said Wednesday. Another resident said she travelled for three days with her elderly parents to reach India after soldiers bombed her house and fighting escalated around the town. "I never thought of running from my own house even after the military bombed it... but as things got worse... I finally had to flee," she told AFP on condition of anonymity.