West African leaders due in Guinea as post-coup calm pervades Conakry

A delegation from West Africa’s main political and economic bloc was due in Conakry on Thursday, a day after it suspended Guinea’s membership in response to a coup and as life in the country’s capital gradually returned to normal.

The representatives will “assess the situation” following Sunday’s ouster of President Alpha Conde, the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) said in a statement.

ECOWAS made no mention of any possible sanctions against the coup regime or its leader Mamady Doumbouya, a former officer in the French Foreign Legion who seized power at the head of an elite army unit.

Doumbouya has since moved to consolidate his support base, meeting with ambassadors from Russia, China, Turkey, France and the United States on Wednesday.

Meanwhile life in the capital is gradualy returning to normal.

By Thursday, the usual traffic and street hawkers were clogging Conakry’s streets, a Reuters witness reported. The only roads still manned by military checkpoints were those leading towards the Kaloum peninsula, the capital’s administrative centre and the location of the presidential palace.

ECOWAS condemned the coup on Wednesday and demanded Conde’s unconditional release. The 15-nation group’s president, Jean-Claude Kassi Brou, and Ghana’s Foreign Affairs Miniser Shirley Ayorkor Botchway, are leading Thursday’s delegation to Conakry, it said.

Guinea’s coup is the fourth in 13 months in West and Central Africa, previously known as a “coup belt”, raising concerns over a backslidung towards military rule in a region that had made strides towards multi-party democracy since the 1990s.

Doumbouya, in an effort to sweep away any leadership associated with Conde’s administration, on Wednesday ordered all Guinea’s police and gendarmerie commanders be replaced by their deputies.

He also met with Jordanian military instructors in hopes of developing a programme to train an elite anti-terrorism unit, according to Guinea’s state broadcaster.

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