The Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) has suspended Guinea following last Sunday’s military coup.
ECOWAS said, a high-level mission will be dispatched immediately after calling for an immediate return to constitutional order.
Last year, President Alpha Conde pushed through a new constitution that allowed him to run for a third term in October 2020.
The move sparked mass demonstrations in which several protesters were killed. Conde won the election but the political opposition maintained that the poll was a sham.
Conde, 83, had come under increasing fire for perceived authoritarianism, with some of the opposition activists arrested after a violently disputed election last year.
Special forces led by Lieutenant Colonel Mamady Doumbouya seized power in the West African state on Sunday and arrested Conde, sparking international condemnation.
Doumbouya, hours after taking power in the capital Conakry, appeared on television and accused the Conde government of endemic corruption and of trampling on citizens’ rights.
He has pledged to open talks on forming a new government, but it is not yet clear when, or under what form, these may take place.
Guinea’s military on Tuesday freed about 80 political opponents of Conde who had been detained during the turbulent electoral period.
However, leaders from the 15-nation West African States held an extraordinary virtual summit to discuss the turmoil in Guinea on Wednesday.
After the meeting, regional leaders decided “to suspend Guinea from all ECOWAS decision-making bodies with immediate effect”, awaiting economic sanctions.
ECOWAS has once again demanded that Guinea’s military release Conde and held the coup plotters responsible for the ousted leader’s physical safety.
“The Authority will review the situation in light of developments in the Republic of Guinea and the Assessment mission report,” according to a release issued by ECOWAS on September 8, 2021.
By Vincent Kubi