By John Ikani
West African Leaders – under the umbrella of regional ECOWAS bloc – have decided to impose sanctions on individuals in the military government of Guinea over its inflexibility on setting a date to return to civilian rule.
The decision which was reached at a meeting in New York on the sidelines of the UN General Assembly, came as Malian authorities held a traditional military parade on Thursday to mark the country’s independence day in the presence of the head of Guinea´s military junta, Col Mamady Doumbouya.
A meeting summary said the leaders – minus those of Guinea, Mali and Burkina Faso, suspended due to coups – agreed on “gradual sanctions” on a list of people linked to the Guinean junta who will be identified “very soon” by the bloc’s leadership.
Poor but mineral-rich Guinea has been ruled by the military since a coup in September 2021 that ousted President Alpha Conde, in power since 2010.
Guinean leaders say they need three years to return the country to democracy and they are unhappy with Ecowas’ demands for a faster transition.
In a statement, the Guinean Interim Prime Minister, Bernard Gomou, had earlier described the ECOWAS chief and President of neighbouring Guinea-Bissau, Umaro Sissoco Embalo, as a “puppet” and an “overexcited” man who had “forced his way in” to lead the regional organisation.