<!-- IMAGE -->
West African leaders are imposing an arms embargo against the military
government in Guinea following last month's killing of opposition
Leaders from the Economic Community of West African
States imposed the weapons ban as part of the regional alliance's
convention on small arms and light weapons.
ECOWAS says Guinea's
military committed "mass human rights violations" during a
demonstration last month against the expected candidacy of military
ruler Captain Moussa Camara.
Human rights groups say at least
157 were killed when troops opened fire on protestors. The military
government says 57 people died, most in the crush of people fleeing the
main sports stadium.
The International Criminal Court has opened
a preliminary investigation into possible crimes against humanity
during that violence. The United Nations says it will organize an
international inquiry. Captain Camara has announced his own
In view of what it calls "the atrocities that
have been committed," ECOWAS says violence in Guinea poses a "real
threat to the peace, security and stability of the region."
<!-- IMAGE -->
an interview with VOA, ECOWAS Executive Secretary Mohamed Ibn Chambas
says the regional alliance must take action to prevent Guinea from
deteriorating further and threatening the fragile peace in some of its
"ECOWAS and the AU and the U.N., the wider
international community, has invested tremendously in bringing about
peace to the countries of the Manu River Union area: Sierra Leone,
Liberia, Guinea-Bissau, indeed next door in Cote d'Ivoire," he said.
Coast is preparing for elections next month to reunify a country split
by civil war. Guinea Bissau just elected a new president following the
assassination of its long-time leader. Sierra Leone and Liberia are
still recovering from their own long conflicts.
Burkinabe President Blaise Compaore to mediate the crisis in Guinea.
But while both sides agree in principle to those talks, the main
opposition coalition says it will not take part unless Captain Camara
resigns and his ruling council is dissolved.
Captain Camara says
his opponents should meet their responsibilities as political leaders
and join him in a transitional government of national unity, that he
says is the only way to guarantee stability.
Captain Camara has
not formally announced his intention to run in presidential elections
currently scheduled for January. But he has told his supporters that he
will not insult them by ignoring their demands that he run.
their extraordinary meeting in Abuja, ECOWAS leaders also threatened
sanctions against Niger where President Mamadou Tandja extended his
time in office through a controversial constitutional referendum.
says President Tandja should postpone legislative elections scheduled
for Tuesday. Opposition parties are boycotting that vote. It is an
election to replace a legislature that President Tandja dissolved when
lawmakers said his constitutional referendum was illegal. He also
dismissed the constitutional court and ruled by decree until the
referendum gave him another three years in office and allowed him to
run again after that if he wishes.