The West African body under the Ghanaian leader, has lost the plot for regional stability and democratic governance, as it has recorded the fourth military takeover within a spate of three years.
Reports are that, heavy gunfire have been heard near Guinea-Bissau presidential palace with whereabouts of the President of that country unknown.
Many international media agencies, including AFP News Agency and Reuters are suggesting coup, but the West African bloc (ECOWAS) has downplayed the report, saying it was an attempted coup’ in Guinea-Bissau, and condemned it.
The body has in recent times been quick to condemn such reports after remaining oblivious to economic hardship, corruption, mismanagement, manipulation of constitutional mechanisms, bad governance and collapse of rule of law in many of its member states.
The Herald’s intelligence suggests that ECOWAS chaired by President Nana Akufo-Addo, is not popular in most French-speaking countries in the sub region currently. They are reports of uneasy calm in Ivory Coast.
According to ECOWAS, it is following “with great concern the evolution of the situation in Guinea Bissau characterized this Tuesday, February 1, 2022, by military fire around the Palais du Government”.
The statement, said “ECOWAS condemns this coup attempt and holds the military responsible for the physical integrity of President Umaro Sissoco EMBALO and members of his government”.
The statement issued from Abuja, Nigeria, dated February 1, 2022 by the ECOWAS Commission, asked “the military to return to their barracks and maintain a republican stance”.
Reuters reports that heavy gunfire was heard in the capital of Guinea-Bissau today, Tuesday, 1 February 2022, near a compound where President Umaro Sissoco Embalo was presiding over a cabinet meeting, with early reports indicating possible casualties, a witness and sources said.
President Umaro Sissoco Embal is himself an ex-General of the country’s military.
It was not immediately clear who was firing the gunshots.
A security source with contacts inside the compound, the Government Palace, said an unknown number of people had been hit by the gunfire. A second source said two people were dead, but it was unclear who they were.
Sissoco Embalo held an extraordinary cabinet meeting at around 10 a.m., entering the building with a heavy security detail, a diplomatic source said.
Normally busy streets around the palace were deserted on Tuesday afternoon, a civil society activist said.
An unverified video shared on social media appeared to show a man standing outside the compound firing a rocket-propelled grenade.
Members of government consulted by Reuters to confirm the events did not answer their telephones.
West Africa has seen a rash of coups in the last 18 months. Emboldened by popular discontent, militaries in Mali, Guinea and Burkina Faso have seized power, reversing democratic gains that had seen the region shed its tag as Africa’s “coup belt”.
Political instability has blighted Guinea-Bissau for decades.
Nine coups or attempted coups since independence from Portugal in 1974 have hobbled efforts to pull the economy beyond its reliance on the export of cashew nuts.