African Union Condemns Guinea Coup Attempt



The African Union has condemned the attempt by military officers in Guinea to seize power following the death of President Lansana Conte. The continent's top peace and security officials are calling the attempted coup a worrisome sign of a reversal in Africa's trend toward multi-party democracy.

The AU Peace and Security Council spent most of the day in emergency session Wednesday, debating the text of a statement condemning what they call an attempt to overthrow constitutional order in Guinea. Afterward, Zambia's AU Ambassador Patrick Sinyinza, who holds the rotating Council chairmanship, expressed concern that recent events in Mauritania and now in Guinea could signal a return to the era of seizing power by force in Africa.

"We have had either coup attempts or countries on the verge of coup d'etats or any insurgency by the, either in the military sector or by individuals to change government by force, we are saying we are not for that, and Africa needs to build on the issue of democracy and good governance," he said. "A road that Africa I think has been on, and we should not have the reversals we seem to be experiencing." 

AU backs constitutional rule

AU Peace and Security Commissioner Ramtane Lamamra called the toughly-worded communiqué an expression of the Council's resolve to preserve constitutional order in Guinea.

"Clearly, the situation developing in Guinea is being looked at as an attempted coup d'etat which we condemn and which we seek to reverse, meaning that we strongly support actions being taken to strengthen the constitutional institutions of Guinea," he said.

Lamamra said he was heartened that not all of Guinea's armed forces are supporting the coup attempt, and expressed hope that elections would be held within months to choose a successor to President Conte.

"We are far from concluding that the armed forces are all of them committing an act against the constitution, and we hope that by the next summit of the African Union, the legally authorized personalities would be the ones representing the country, and if the calculation is right, probably the election would be taking place right after the holding of the African Union summit 60 days from yesterday," he said.

AU delegation will travel to Guinea

Lamamra said Africa's top diplomat, AU Commission Chairman Jean Ping is considering leading a high-ranking delegation to Conakry within the next 24 hours. The delegation would try to calm tensions and advocate restoration of constitutional order, as well as attending President Conte's funeral, which is set for Friday.

The attempted coup mirrored Mr. Conte's own rise to power in a 1984 military takeover after the death of his predecessor, Ahmed Sekou Toure. AU diplomats also noted this  attempt came months after Mauritania's first democratically elected president was deposed in a military coup.

Mauritania's membership in the African Union was suspended after the coup, and Commissioner Lamamra hinted the same fate could await Guinea if constitutional order is not restored.

This forum has been closed.
There are no comments in this forum. Be first and add one

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Amnesty Accuses Saudi Coalition of ‘War Crimes’ in Yemeni
Henry Ridgwell
October 12, 2015 4:03 PM
The human rights group Amnesty International has accused the Saudi-led coalition of war crimes in airstrikes against Houthi rebels in Yemen. Henry Ridgwell reports the group says hundreds of civilians have been killed in strikes on residential areas.

Video Amnesty Accuses Saudi Coalition of ‘War Crimes’ in Yemen

The human rights group Amnesty International has accused the Saudi-led coalition of war crimes in airstrikes against Houthi rebels in Yemen. Henry Ridgwell reports the group says hundreds of civilians have been killed in strikes on residential areas.

Video No Resolution in Sight to US House Speaker Drama

Uncertainty grips the U.S. Congress, where no consensus replacement has emerged to succeed Republican House Speaker John Boehner after his surprise resignation announcement. Half of Congress is effectively leaderless weeks before America risks defaulting on its national debt and enduring another partial government shutdown.

Video New Art Exhibit Focuses on Hope

Out of struggle and despair often comes hope. That idea is behind a new art exhibit at the American Visionary Art Museum in Baltimore, Maryland. "The Big Hope Show" features 25 artists, some of whom overcame trauma and loss. VOA’s Deborah Block reports.

Video Columbus Day Still Generates Controversy as US Holiday

The second Monday of October is Columbus Day in the United States, honoring explorer Christopher Columbus and his discovery of the Americas. The achievement is a source of pride for many, but for some the holiday is marked by controversy. Adrianna Zhang has more.

Video Anger Simmers as Turks Begin to Bury Blast Victims

The Turkish army carried out new air strikes on Kurdistan Workers Party (PKK) targets on Sunday, a day after the banned group announced a unilateral cease fire. The air raids apparently are in retaliation for the Saturday bombing in Turkey's capital Ankara that killed at least 95 people and wounded more than 200 others. But as Zlatica Hoke reports, there are suspicions that Islamic State is involved.

Video Bombings a Sign of Turkey’s Deep Troubles

Turkey has begun a three-day period of mourning following Saturday’s bomb attacks in the capital, Ankara, that killed nearly 100 people. With contentious parliamentary elections three weeks away, the attacks highlight the challenges Turkey is facing as it struggles with ethnic friction, an ongoing migrant crisis, and growing tensions with Russia. VOA Europe correspondent Luis Ramirez reports.

Video Afghanistan’s Progress Aided by US Academic Center

Recent combat in Afghanistan has shifted world attention back to the central Asian nation’s continuing civil war and economic challenges. But, while there are many vexing problems facing Afghanistan’s government and people, a group of academics in Omaha, Nebraska has kept a strong faith in the nation’s future through programs to improve education. VOA’s Greg Flakus has more from Omaha, Nebraska.

Video House Republicans in Chaos as Speaker Favorite Withdraws

The Republican widely expected to become the next speaker of the House of Representatives shocked his colleagues Thursday by announcing he was withdrawing his candidacy. The decision by Majority Leader Kevin McCarthy means the race to succeed retiring Speaker John Boehner is now wide open. VOA National Correspondent Jim Malone reports.

Video German, US Officials Investigate Volkswagen

German officials have taken steps to restore some of the reputation their car industry has lost after a recent Volkswagen diesel emissions scandal. Authorities have searched Volkswagen headquarters and other locations in an effort to identify the culprits in the creation of software that helps cheat on emission tests. Meanwhile, a group of lawmakers in Washington held a hearing to get to the bottom of the cheating strategy that was first discovered in the United States. Zlatica Hoke reports.

Video Why Are Gun Laws So Hard for Congress to Tackle?

Since taking office, President Barack Obama has spoken out or issued statements about 15 mass shootings. The most recent shooting, in which 10 people were killed at a community college, sparked outrage over the nation's gun laws. But changing those laws isn't as easy as many think. VOA's Carolyn Presutti reports.

Video In 'He Named Me Malala,' Guggenheim Finds Normal in Extraordinary

Davis Guggenheim’s documentary "He Named Me Malala" offers a probing look into the life of 18-year-old Malala Yousafsai, the Pakistani teenager who, in 2012, was shot in the head by the Taliban for standing up for her right to education in her hometown in Pakistan's Swat Valley. Guggenheim shows how, since then, Malala has become a symbol not as a victim of brutal violence, but as an advocate for girls’ education throughout the world. VOA’s Penelope Poulou has more.

Video Paintable Solar Cells May Someday Replace Silicon-Based Panels

Solar panels today are still factory-manufactured, with the use of some highly toxic substances such as cadmium chloride. But a researcher at St. Mary’s College, Maryland, says we are close to being able to create solar panels by painting them on a suitable surface, using nontoxic solutions. VOA’s George Putic reports.

VOA Blogs