West African bloc names Guinea ‘facilitator’

AFP – The Economic Community Of West African States has named Burkina Faso President Blaise Compaore as “facilitator” to ease tensions in Guinea after junta troops there massacred opposition demonstrators.

“We came to see the president (Compaore) with a message from (Nigerian) President Umaru Yar’Adua, current ECOWAS chairman, who named President Compaore as facilitator in the Guinean crisis,” ECOWAS president Mohamed Ibn Chambas told journalists.

Guinea has been in turmoil since Monday, when troops of Captain Moussa Dadis Camara’s military junta opened fire on opposition demonstrators, killing 56 according to the junta and more than 150 according to the United Nations and a Guinean human rights organisation.

ECOWAS wants Compaore to “work on the Guinean file, see how he can help find ways to lower tensions, re-energise the transitional process in Guinea, resume dialogue between the authorities and (the opposition) and also see how we can move towards credible and transparent elections in Guinea,” Chambas said.

The United Nations, European Union and African Union have already condemned the massacre in a Conakry stadium, while former colonial power France has withdrawn military cooperation and said it is considering other forms of cooperation.

Compaore, in power since 22 years, has previously mediated crises in Ivory Coast and Togo.

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