The Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) on Thursday imposed sanctions against the junta in Guinea and those slowing Mali’s post-coup transition.

The imposition of the sanctions is the bloc’s toughest response yet to a run of military takeovers.

The move was agreed at an emergency summit of ECOWAS in Accra to respond to last week’s coup in Guinea and perceived slow progress towards constitutional rule in Mali following a coup last year.

Regional heads of state decided to freeze the financial assets and impose travel bans on Guinea’s junta members and their relatives, insisting on the release of President Alpha Conde and a short transition.

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“In six months elections should be held,” said ECOWAS Commission President Jean-Claude Kassi Brou at a briefing.

The bloc also piled more pressure on Mali’s transitional government, demanding they stick to an agreement to organise elections for February 2022 and present an electoral roadmap by next month, according to the post-summit communique.

Anyone in Mali hindering preparations for the elections faces the same sanctions as those imposed in Guinea, it said.

Leaders who took part in the summit hailed this more hardline stance.

West and Central Africa has seen four coups since last year – political upheaval that has intensified concerns about a backslide towards military rule in a resource-rich but poverty-stricken region.

Vanguard News Nigeria

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