West Africa bloc ECOWAS has decided to suspend Guinea following a recent coup in the country

Burkinabe Foreign Minister Alpha Barry said Wednesday after a virtual crisis summit. The Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) will also send a mediation mission to Guinea on Thursday, Barry told reporters in Burkina Faso’s capital Ouagadougou. The move comes after Guinean special forces led by Lieutenant Colonel Mamady Doumbouya seized power on Sunday and arrested president Alpha Conde, sparking international condemnation.

Conde had come under increasing fire for perceived authoritarianism. The 83-year-old became the first democratically elected president in 2010 and was re-elected in 2015.

But last year, he pushed through a 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 that the poll was a sham.

Regional bloc ECOWAS convened an extraordinary virtual summit to discuss the turmoil in Guinea on Wednesday.

Afterwards, Burkinabe Foreign Minister Alpha Barry said that ECOWAS would also request that the Africa Union and United Nations endorse its decision to suspend Guinea.

The putsch has sparked fears of democratic backsliding across the region, where military strongman are an increasingly familiar sight.

In Guinea’s neighbour Mali, strongman Colonel Assimi Goita has launched two coups since last August.

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