AU Says Guinea-Bissau Coup Leaders Violating Constitution

Posted April 17th, 2012 at 6:45 am (UTC-5)
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African Union Commission Chairman Jean Ping has expressed “deep regret” at the situation in Guinea-Bissau, saying efforts by the leaders of a military coup carried out last week are a “flagrant violation” of the country's constitution.

In a statement released Tuesday ahead of a meeting of the AU's Peace and Security Council, Ping urged all “political actors” in Guinea-Bissau to avoid involvement in steps designed to give the coup a favorable impression.

He also said the coup leaders were trying to arbitrarily halt the country's ongoing election process.

A runoff election was planned at the end of this month to replace the late president, Malam Bacai Sanha, who died in January after a long illness.

Also Tuesday, ECOWAS Commission President Desire Kadre Ouedraogo said the coup leaders have accepted the regional bloc's demand to restore constitutional order, following talks between the two sides.

Guinea-Bissau has endured numerous coups and coup attempts during the past 30 years and has become a transit point for international drug traffickers.

In the previously planned runoff election, former prime minister Carlos Gomes Junior, a member of the ruling party, was to face Kumba Yala, a former president who has had close ties to the military. The military junta seized Mr. Gomes and interim president Raimundo Pereira last Thursday at their homes. Their whereabouts remain unknown.