West African Alliance Mobilizes, Threatens Mali and Guinea-Bissau

Bloc Chief: Won't Tolerate 'Defiance' of Juntas

by Jason Ditz, May 03, 2012

The Economic Community of Western African States (ECOWAS) has announced that it is further mobilizing its allied military forces, and threatened two suspended members, Mali and Guinea-Bissau, over recent military coups.

Mali’s coup came in March, after the nation’s civilian government lost more than half of the country to Tuareg rebels, though the junta has been no more successful in reclaiming the area, which is now functioning as a de facto independent state. Guinea-Bissau had its coup in April, with the military capturing the current leaders for “security reasons.

ECOWAS has held multiple emergency meetings in Senegal, demanding an end to both coups and a return to civilian rule. The alliance has insisted it has “zero tolerance” for juntas, though whether its mobilized militaries will ever actually be deployed is unclear.

When Mali’s junta took power, ECOWAS threats were mostly seen as empty, since they didn’t appear keenĀ  to enter the already war-torn nation and deal with a Tuareg insurgency as well. The fall of Guinea-Bissau appears to have the alliance worried that coups could become a pandemic across the region.

Last 5 posts by Jason Ditz