Guinea body setting return to civilian rule to meet Saturday

Guinea junta leader Mamadi Doumbouya sits after he was sworn in as interim president in Conakry, Guinea October 1, 2021.REUTERS-Souleymane Camara

An interim legislature tasked with deciding when to restore civilian rule in Guinea following last year’s coup will hold its maiden session on Saturday, the authorities said.

The West African country’s ruling military, which seized power in September, announced the opening of the so-called National Transitional Council on state television on Tuesday evening.

The 81-member body will “draw up a new constitution and propose the date of the end of the transition,” according to a statement.

The inaugural ceremony will take place in the capital Conakry on Saturday.

The announcement comes amid mounting international concern at a wave of military coups in West Africa.

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The latest occurred in Burkina Faso on January 24, while an attempted coup occurred on Tuesday in Guinea-Bissau, according to its president.

West Africa’s regional bloc ECOWAS — the Economic Community of West African States — is due to meet in Ghana’s capital Accra on Thursday.

The bloc has previously urged Guinea to swiftly restore civilian rule, and has imposed sanctions on individual junta members.

Guinea’s strongman Colonel Mamady Doumbouya deposed elected president Alpha Conde in a putsch on September 5, defying broad diplomatic condemnation of the coup.

The former special forces commander has promised to restore civilian rule but has so far refused to specify the length of the transition period.

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Doumbouya’s coup followed a putsch in neighbouring Mali, where the military seized power in 2020.

On January 24, Burkina Faso’s army also announced it had deposed President Roch Marc Christian Kabore and taken control of the country.

Then on Tuesday in coastal Guinea-Bissau, President Umaro Sissoco Embalo said that armed men had mounted a coup attempt, attacking a government building while he was inside.

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