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ECOWAS Leaders to Meet Friday Over Bissau Crisis

  • Peter Clottey

Guinea-Bissau has been prone to coup d’états and drug trafficking

Guinea-Bissau has been prone to coup d’états and drug trafficking

The communications director of the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) said several heads of state and government have arrived Nigeria’s capital, Abuja to participate in a summit Friday on finding solutions to Guinea-Bissau’s security crisis.

Sonny Ugoh said the extra-ordinary summit will not only focus on the political and security situation in Guinea-Bissau, but also review the progress in the regional bloc’s efforts to reform the country’s defense and security.

“The meeting will look at how to ensure security sector reform because we think that is key to resolving the problem in Guinea-Bissau and ensuring political stability. It is important to emphasize that in the spirit of political and democracy and good governance, we have a responsibility, which we have been promoting regional-wise to ensure that we work with member states to promote sustainable democracy in member states.”

ECOWAS Communications director Ugoh said security stability will pave the way for the administration in Guinea-Bissau to “intensively” pursue economic development.

West African leaders have expressed concern over the escalating security crisis in Guinea-Bissau following last April’s attempted coup d’état.

In early April, the army briefly detained Prime Minister Carlos Gomes Jr. after removing the former military chief.

Early this month, Guinea-Bissau asked for Angola’s help to reform its military in order to end rampant coup d’états as well as stop the ongoing drug trafficking menace the country faces.

This came after the European Union refused to extend a mission to help reform the West African country’s security forces, saying Bissau has failed to respect the rule of law since the army’s April mutiny.

ECOWAS communications director Ugoh said regional leaders want to help stabilize the West African country and restore the rule of law that will make Guinea-Bissau attractive enough for foreign direct investment.

“Nobody is going to invest in an environment that is unstable. That is why the main issue they will be dealing with as far as I know, is the security situation. We are looking for about 70 million Euros to deal with the security sector reforms that will enable us to repair the barracks and retire so many people who are aged and pay them off so that we can reform the security sector.”