ECOWAS troops headed to Guinea Bissau

Posted May 14th, 2012 at 1:10 pm (UTC-5)
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West African bloc ECOWAS says it will send troops to Guinea-Bissau to oversee a return to civilian rule after last month's coup.

Nigerian Defense Minister Bello Haliru Mohammed said Monday the troops will be in Guinea-Bissau by Friday. He did not specify how large the force would be.

Officials from 15 West African countries met in Nigeria Monday to discuss the mission, announced late last month.

On Friday, ECOWAS envoys and Guinea-Bissau coup leaders agreed to install parliamentary speaker Manuel Serifo Nhamadjo to lead a transitional government. The U.S. State Department called on all political stakeholders to accept him.

Guinea-Bissau's military seized power in mid-April, derailing a presidential run-off election to replace the late President Malam Bacai Sanha, who died in January.

Guinea-Bissau has endured numerous coups and attempted coups in the past 30 years. It is also a key transit point for international drug traffickers.

The United States has accused some senior military figures of being involved in the drug trade.