West Africa mediators in Guinea for talks

West Africa mediators in Guinea for talks

Junta leader Colonel Mamady Doumbouya at his swearing-in as president last October
Junta leader Colonel Mamady Doumbouya at his swearing-in as president last October. Photo: Cellou BINANI / AFP
Source: AFP

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West African mediators were in Guinea Wednesday for talks with the ruling junta on a return to civilian rule, a source at the Guinean presidency and an official with the regional bloc said.

Colonel Mamady Doumbouya, who seized power last September, has pledged to restore civilian rule within three years.

The Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS), which suspended Guinea after the coup, has rejected this timeline.

The acting head of ECOWAS, Guinea-Bissau President Umaro Sissoco Embalo, as well as the president of the bloc's commission, Gambian diplomat Omar Alieu Touray, landed in Conakry on Wednesday, a source at Guinean president's office told AFP.

The ECOWAS mediator for Guinea, Benin's former president Thomas Boni Yayi, has been in the Guinean capital since Tuesday, an official from the West African bloc said.

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The three men were set to meet Doumbouya as well as foreign diplomats.

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The head of Guinea's main political party, former prime minister Cellou Dalein Diallo, on Wednesday sounded the alarm over what he called a "dangerously growing list of breaches of fundamental rights."

The National Alliance for Change and Democracy (ANAD), which comprises about 20 organisations, separately protested against a "travel ban" being imposed on opposition leader Oumar Sylla.

Sylla, a member of the National Front for the Defence of the Constitution (FNDC), had been set to take part in a West African civil society gathering in Senegal from Tuesday to Thursday, but his group said he was prevented from boarding the plane.

The Guinean authorities declined to comment.

Sylla was among three members of the FNDC found not guilty on contempt of court this month over comments they had posted on social media criticising the prosecutor's office and the military-appointed parliament.

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Their arrest had sparked violent protests, some of the first since Doumbouya toppled president Alpha Conde last year.

The ruling junta had banned political protests in May.

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Source: AFP

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