West African leaders put off further post-coup sanctions | Star Tribune

ACCRA, Ghana — West African heads of state put off fur­ther pun­ish­ing the lead­ers of Mali, Guinea and Burk­i­na Faso at a region­al sum­mit Sat­ur­day, as coup lead­ers in all three coun­tries con­tin­ue to insist that it will take years before new elec­tions can be held.

The 15-nation region­al bloc known as ECOWAS will con­vene again on July 3 before deter­min­ing if fur­ther sanc­tions will be imple­ment­ed in the three sus­pend­ed mem­bers states, ECOWAS Com­mis­sion Pres­i­dent Jean-Claude Kas­si Brou said.

ECOWAS already imposed strong eco­nom­ic sanc­tions against Mali back in Jan­u­ary — shut­ting down most com­merce, along with land and air bor­ders with oth­er coun­tries in the bloc. Those mea­sures have crip­pled Mal­i’s econ­o­my, prompt­ing con­cern about the human­i­tar­i­an con­se­quences on Malians.

The sanc­tions have not yet brought about a polit­i­cal break­through either: In the months since, Col. Assi­mi Goi­ta has only fur­ther iso­lat­ed the coun­try inter­na­tion­al­ly, pulling out of a region­al secu­ri­ty force and also shut­ting down two lead­ing French media broadcasters.

Goita’s gov­ern­ment also still insists that no vote can be held until 2024, which would extend their time to pow­er to near­ly four years despite orig­i­nal­ly agree­ing to an 18-month tran­si­tion back to democracy.

The jun­tas in Guinea and Burk­i­na Faso also have pro­posed three-year tran­si­tions, which have been reject­ed by ECOWAS as too long a wait for new elections.

The wave of mil­i­tary coups began in August 2020, when Goi­ta and oth­er sol­diers over­threw Mal­i’s demo­c­ra­t­i­cal­ly elect­ed pres­i­dent. Nine months lat­er, he car­ried out a sec­ond coup when he dis­missed the coun­try’s civil­ian tran­si­tion­al leader and became pres­i­dent himself.

Muti­nous sol­diers deposed Guinea’s pres­i­dent in Sep­tem­ber 2021, and Burk­i­na Faso’s leader was oust­ed in yet anoth­er coup in the region back in January.

The polit­i­cal upheaval came at a time when many observers were start­ing to think that mil­i­tary pow­er grabs were a thing of the past in West Africa: Mali had gone eight years with­out one, while Guinea had made it 13 years.


Asso­ci­at­ed Press writ­ers Krista Lar­son in Dakar, Sene­gal, Baba Ahmed in Bamako, Mali; and Boubacar Dial­lo in Conakry, Guinea contributed.

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W/Africa’s challenges not insurmountable, say Catholic Bishops — Vanguard News

.By Lumi­nous Jan­namike, Abu­ja Catholic Bish­ops from the 16 West African coun­tries, on Sat­ur­day in Abu­ja, said the sub-region will over­come its cur­rent challenges.However, they insist­ed that polit­i­cal lead­ers must halt poli­cies and prac­tices that per­mit the exploita­tion of the peo­ple. The cler­ics also resolve to work with crit­i­cal stake­hold­ers to remove all obsta­cles to peace­ful coex­is­tence, devel­op­ment and pro­duc­tiv­i­ty in the region.The Bish­ops under the aus­pices of the Reunion of the Epis­co­pal Con­fer­ences of West Africa (RECOWA) said this in a com­mu­nique made avail­able to jour­nal­ists at the end of their 4th Gen­er­al Assem­bly, which was held in Nigeria’s cap­i­tal city. The reli­gious lead­ers, who acknowl­edged that West African coun­tries were bat­tling the com­mon chal­lenges of inse­cu­ri­ty, cor­rup­tion, and sec­tion­al mar­gin­al­i­sa­tion among oth­ers, nonethe­less said there is no need to despair because tough times do not last forever.They said, “We rec­og­nize the inher­ent dan­gers in our cur­rent soci­ety, but we remain opti­mistic that none of the prob­lems bedev­illing our sub-region is insur­mount­able. “How­ev­er, we need to work togeth­er, with like minds in pol­i­tics, reli­gion, eco­nom­ics, social life the media, in syn­er­gy to fight against all forms of man’s inhu­man­i­ty to man.”The com­mu­nique was signed by RECOWA Pres­i­dent, the Most Revd. Alex­is Touabli Youlou, fur­ther stressed that all stake­hold­ers must sus­tain the advo­ca­cy for pos­i­tive change in soci­ety. To this end, it added: “As Church, we call on politi­cians, oth­er lead­ers and indeed our peo­ple to order in their nev­er-end­ing crav­ing for self-aggran­dis­e­ment and acqui­si­tion of wealth.“We urge Chris­t­ian politi­cians, tra­di­tion­al rulers, tech­nocrats, pro­fes­sion­als, espe­cial­ly those in the media, busi­ness­men and women, and indeed all our peo­ple to live out their Chris­t­ian voca­tion in fight­ing cor­rup­tion, eth­no­cen­trism, sec­tion­al­ism, and all forms of injus­tice in society.“We strong­ly denounce the poli­cies and prac­tices of our gov­ern­ments and lead­ers who facil­i­tate and per­mit the exploita­tion and mar­gin­al­i­sa­tion of our peo­ple and endan­ger the future of our children.“Tragically, some indi­vid­u­als engaged in acts of vio­lence and ter­ror­ism have aggra­vat­ed the state of inse­cu­ri­ty in our sub­re­gion. We, there­fore, call on all nev­er to grow weary in denounc­ing and root­ing cut such evils in our midst.”The Catholic Bish­ops also said that at the end of their delib­er­a­tions, they held elec­tions and the fol­low­ing emerged as the lead­ers of RECOWA for the next three years:“Most Rev­erend Alex­is Touabli Youlou, Bish­op of Agbovilie in Cote D’Ivoire, Pres­i­dent; Most Rev­erend Joseph Kwaku Afrifan-Agyekum, Bish­op of Koforid­ua in Ghana, first vice pres­i­dent; and Most Rev­erend José Lam­pra, Bish­op of Bis­sau in Guinea Bis­sau, sec­ond vice president.“Also elect­ed to the sec­re­tari­at of the reunion are Father Vital­is Anae­ho­bi, Sec­re­tary-Gen­er­al, from Nigeria.”Vanguard News Nige­ri­aRE­LAT­ED NEWS

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