The military junta of Guinea said on Friday it would not bow to regional pressure and allow President Alpha Conde, detained since his overthrow on Sept. 5, to leave the country.
Alassane Ouattara of Ivory Coast and Nana Akufo-Addo of Ghana travelled to Conakry on Friday to ask coup leader Mamady Doumbouya for Conde’s release.
A regional government official says Outtara hoped to leave with Conde when he left Guinea
In a statement read on state television, the junta said, “The former president remains in Guinea. We will not give in to any pressure.”
On Friday evening, Ouattara and Akufo-Addo, representing the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS), held a separate meeting with Conde at the Mohamed VI Palace in Conakry, but departed empty-handed.
Ouattara told Radio-Télévision Guinéenne (RTG) at the airport before departing: “I met my brother Alpha Conde. We will stay in touch.”
Kufo-Addo told RTG: “We have had a very frank and fraternal meeting with Doumbouya and his collaborators. I am confident that Guinea and ECOWAS will find a way forward together.”
The Economic Community of West African States has called for a return to constitutional rule since a special forces unit seized control of the presidential palace, detained Conde, and declared itself in charge.
On Thursday, the bloc agreed to freeze the junta’s assets and bar its members from traveling. The junta has not yet responded.
Guinea’s coup follows coups in Mali and Chad earlier this year that have raised fears of a democratic backslide in a region just emerging from its coup-belt reputation.
Leaders of the coup in Guinea have held consultations with public and business figures to work out a transitional government’s framework.
The credibility of ECOWAS in Guinea has been eroded since 2018, when it failed to condemn President Conde for seeking a third term, despite a law requiring a president to step down after two terms.
Ouattara himself used a constitutional amendment as an excuse to run for a third term last year, a move critics deemed illegal.
The ECOWAS said it would be reviewing its protocols on democracy and good governance following Thursday’s summit, during which the regional body urged Mali’s transitional government to hold elections by February 2022.
ECOWAS’ motorcade passed dozens of pro-junta demonstrators holding signs as it left the airport in Conakry.
One read: “ECOWAS does not decide for us.”