CONAKRY, September 17 (Reuters) – Guinea’s military junta said on Friday that it would not bow to regional pressure and allow President Alpha Conde, detained since his ouster on September 5, to leave the country.
On Friday, Côte d’Ivoire President Alassane Ouattara and Ghanaian President Nana Akufo-Addo paid a one-day visit to Conakry to ask for the coup leader Mamady Doumbouya, a special forces commander and former French legionary, to release Condes.
Outtara had hoped to leave Guinea with Conde, a senior regional government official told Reuters.
“The former president is and will remain in Guinea. We will not give in to any pressure,” the junta said in a statement read on state television.
Ouattara and Akufo-Addo, representing the 15-member Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS), held a separate meeting with Conde at the Mohamed VI Palace in Conakry, but flew out into the country on Friday night empty-handed.
Ouattara told Radio-Télévision Guinéenne (RTG) at Conakry airport before leaving: “I met my brother Alpha Conde, who is fine. We will stay in touch.”
Akufo-Addo told RTG: “We have had a very open and fraternal meeting with Doumbouya and his staff. I believe that ECOWAS and Guinea will find the best way to move forward together.”
ECOWAS has demanded a return to constitutional rule since special forces took control of the presidential palace, detained Conde and declared him responsible.
Ghanaian President Nana Akufo-Addo, new President of the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS), speaks to journalists following an advisory meeting in Accra, Ghana 15 September 2020. REUTERS / Francis Kokoroko / File Photo
The bloc agreed on Thursday to freeze financial assets for the junta and their relatives and prevent them from traveling. The junta has not responded.
Events in Guinea followed the coups in Mali and Chad earlier this year that have raised concerns about a democratic backlash in a region that is only losing its reputation.
Guinea’s cup leaders have held a week of consultations with public figures and business leaders to identify a framework for a transitional government.
ECOWA’s credibility in Guinea has been strained since 2018, when the bloc did not convict Conde of running for a third term last year, despite a law declaring presidents to resign after two extensive protests.
Ouattara himself used a constitutional amendment as an excuse to run for a third term last year, a move that critics considered illegal.
Following Thursday’s summit, during which ECOWAS also pressured Mali’s transitional government to hold elections until February 2022, the regional body said it would review protocols on democracy and good governance.
Upon leaving Conakry Airport, the ECOWAS motorcade passed dozens of pro-junta protesters waving signs.
One read: “ECOWAS does not decide for us.”
Reporting by Saliou Samb and Christian Akorlie; Additional reporting by Ange Aboa; Writing by Hereward Holland; Edited by Edward McAllister, Philippa Fletcher, Andrew Cawthorne, William Maclean and David Gregorio