African Union kicks out Guinea-Bissau | News | DW | 17.04.2012
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African Union kicks out Guinea-Bissau

The African Union has temporarily kicked out Guinea-Bissau after its army seized power in a coup. The ruling junta is flirting with a power-sharing deal with civilian government, but their resolve is questionable.

The African Union suspended Guinea-Bissau from its organization Tuesday, after a military coup was staged by the country's army forces.

"The [AU's] Peace and Security Council decides to suspend with immediate effect Guinea-Bissau from all activities ... until restoration of constitutional order," said AU Peace and Security Council chief Ramtane Lamamra after the bloc met at their headquarters in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia, Tuesday.

Lamamra also called on the AU's executive body, known as the commission, and the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) to consider targeting Guinea Bissau with sanctions.

Threats of repression from army

Meanwhile the country's now ruling military junta threatened "severe repression" against demonstrations or marches, a barely concealed attempt to quell activity against the new regime.

The junta made an "appeal to the whole population ... to refrain from organizing any march or demonstration, whether for or against the overthrow of the government of Carlos Gomes Junior," it said in a statement.

The announcement followed the departure from Bissau of ECOWAS mediators, who arrived in the country Monday to try and facilitate talks for a transition to civilian rule.

"We agreed on the fact that the soldiers accept the decision of ECOWAS ... which demanded the restoration of constitutional order," the president of the organization's commission, Kadre Desire Ouedraogo, said after meeting the junta.

But the interim president, Raimundo Pereira, and several former ministers remain detained by the military.

The military launched a coup in the tiny West African nation last Thursday, a day after a re-run vote of a disputed presidential election had been postponed by the country's electoral commission. On Friday the junta offered opposition parties a role in a new "unity government" in which the defense and interior portfolios would be the preserve of the military. Whether members of the ousted government would factor into such an arrangement remained uncertain.

Guinea-Bissauhas had several military coups since gaining independence from Portugal in 1974.

sej/ncy (AP, dpa, AFP, Reuters)