ECOWAS Meet Over Guinea, Mali

Leaders in the sub region, the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) are locked up in a meeting in Accra, the capital of Ghana to look at the way forward on the situation in Guinea and Mali.

The two countries have been suspended from the group following military takeovers there.

ECOWAS has since asked the coup makers to restore those countries to democratic order by reverting to constitutional rule.

In his opening remarks at an extraordinary session of the authority of heads of state and governments, ECOWAS Chairman, President Akufo-Addo said he visited Conakry, Guinea in 17th September together with the President of Côte d’Ivoire, Alhassan Quattara, the Chairperson of the Council of Ministers, Ghana’s Foreign Minister, Shirley Ayorkor Botchway, and the President of the ECOWAS Commission, Jean-Claude, Kassie Brou to convey the sentiments of the authorities as decided at their last meeting to the military rulers of Guinea and engage them on the way forward for the future.

A report of the visit has thus been laid before his colleagues in their closed session for considering.

He said he and President Quattara also visited the former Guinean President, Alpha Conde to satisfy themelves about his welfare and plans for the future.

Subsequently on 17th October, he also paid a visit to Bamako again in the company of the ECOWAS mediator for the Malian crisis, Goodluck Jonathan, the former President of Nigeria, the Chairperson of the ECOWAS Council of Ministers, Shirley Ayorkor Botchway, and the President of the ECOWAS Commission, Jean-Claude, Kassie Brou.

He conveyed the decisions of the authority and engaged with the leaders of the transitional government on the way forward.

Those will be the subject of the meeting.

He took the opportunty to express their solidarity and sympathies to Niger and Sierra Leone on recent tragic happenings in their two countries with reference to the killing of more than 68 Nigerien civilians in the attack by jihadist groups in Banibangou near the Malian border on November 2.

He also talked about the incident of November 6 in which about 100 Sierra Leoneans perished in an explosion after an oil tanker collided with a lorry in Freetown.

100 other persons are said to be in the hospital after sustaining injuries during the explosion.

Whilst expressing deep regrets and condolences on these sad incidents, he called for the observation of a minute’s silence in memory of the victims and the population.

By Charles Takyi-Boadu, Presidential Correspondent