The Peace and Security Mission of the African Union (AU)
will be holding an emergency meeting today to find ways of addressing the
military coup d'etat in Mauritania after soldiers ousted President
Sidi Mohamed Ould Cheikh Abdallahi. President Abdullahi, who is Mauritania's first democratically elected leader, was
toppled yesterday after reportedly sacking senior army officers during a
political crisis in the country. The president, prime minister, and interior
minister were reportedly arrested and taken to an unknown destination. The
African Union condemned the coup and demanded a return to constitutional
government in Mauritania.
The AU says
the Peace and Security Commissioner Ramtane Lamamra will soon travel to
Mauritania's capital, Nouakchott to ascertain the situation on the ground and
assess how best to expedite returning the country to constitutional rule. El-Ghassim
Wane is the spokesman for the African Union. From the AU'S headquarters in
Ethiopia's capital Addis Ababa, he tells reporter Peter Clottey that the AU is
disappointed about the military takeover in Mauritania.
"The chairperson of the
commission issued a communiqué in which he condemned the coup and demanded the
restoration of the legality and constitutional order. We did so on the basis of
the relevant provisions of constitutional act of the African Union. The act on
democracy and election government and other relevant instruments adopted by the
AU, which rejects unconstitutional changes of government and attempts to seize
power by force," Wane pointed out.
said The African Union is sending emissaries to Mauritania to assess the
situation on the ground and assist in promoting a peaceful solution to the
"Well next the chairperson,
looking at the seriousness of the situation, has requested the commissioner for
Peace and Security to travel to Mauritania to assess the situation on the
ground and see how best to return and seep up the restoration of legality in
that country. The commissioner is expected to travel in the coming few days to
meet with all relevant stakeholders and see how best center our objective of
restoring legality. I also would want to add that the Peace and Security
Commission of the African Union would be meeting this afternoon to review the
situation," he noted.
Wane said the Peace and
Security Commission would look at all options available to address the crisis
"Well the Peace and Security
Council (PC) will act on the basis of the principles of the AU, which reject
totally coups d'etat and attempts to seize power by force. Now we are looking
at the situation and see how best the AU can achieve its objective. I can't
preempt the outcome of the P and C meeting, but definitely the P and C will act
within the bounds of the provisions of the act and other relevant instruments
of the AU," Wane said.
He said the African Union
has taken steps to address coups d'etat on the African continent as a measure
to inhibit people from forcibly taking over power by the barrel of the gun.
"Precisely, it was in
reaction to the coups d'etat that have taken place on the continent that the AU
in 1999 has adopted a decision rejecting coups d'etat and all means of seizing
power through unconstitutional means. A year after the AU adopted a declaration
providing a framework for how the AU on how the AU should address issues
linking to unconstitutional changes of power. And this was enshrined in the
constitutive act, and later on last year we adopted a chapter on democracy,
election and governance that among others contains provision on coup d'etat,"
Wane said entrenching
democracy on the African continent is gradual process, which needs more effort
to be invested in order to promote and establish the tenets of democracy.
"But of course, the process
of promoting democracy on the continent will be a long one. It won't be an easy
one, so it won't be without setbacks and difficulties on the ground. As much as
we can, we try to present those difficulties and when they happen, we try to
deal with them on the basis of the principles of the organization," Wane
Meanwhile, the United States is condemning the
coup d'etat in Mauritania and has urged the military to release the President
Sidi Mohamed Ould Cheikh Abdallahi and prime minister and restore the
democratically elected government.