Guinea’s military junta, which seized power last weekend, has ordered the central bank and other banks to freeze all government accounts on Thursday.
On Sunday 5 September a group of special forces soldiers said they had ousted President Alpha Condé , over concerns about endemic poverty, corruption and undermining the constitution.
The banking freeze is aimed at securing state assets, a junta spokesman told national broadcasters.
“This includes public and commercial administration companies in all ministries and the presidency, presidential programs and projects, outgoing members of government as well as senior officials and administrators of state financial institutions,” the spokesman said, citing Reuters Sept. 10.
The mining boom fueled strong economic growth during President Conde’s tenure. But surveys show Guineans think corruption has increased in recent years, while dissatisfaction with the economy and living conditions has also increased.
A delegation of West African leaders is due to be in Guinea on Friday to assess the situation after the coup that has raised fears of a deterioration in military rule in the region.
Earlier, leaders of the 15-member Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) condemned Wednesday’s coup and called on the military to release Conde, who was arrested during the takeover.
They also suspended Guinea’s membership of ECOWAS, the region’s main political and economic group, but did not impose threatening sanctions.
A top regional official said ECOWAS wants the junta to appoint a “credible” civilian prime minister as soon as possible to help steer Guinea back to constitutional order.
The bloc was due to be in Guinea’s capital Conakry on Thursday, but two sources in the Guinean military said the delegation was postponed until today Friday. ECOWAS did not immediately respond to a call for comment.
It could face the challenge of trying to influence events in Guinea after struggling to impose its will on Mali, as well as in West Africa, where two coups since August 2020 have held military leader Assimi Goita accountable despite repeated warnings by ECOWAS.
Meanwhile, life in the capital Conakry is starting to return to normal, with traffic and street vendors clogging the streets. The only road still guarded by military checkpoints is the road leading to the Kaloum peninsula, the capital’s administrative center and home to the presidential palace.
Fears a power struggle could hamper Guinea’s production of bauxite, the mineral used to make aluminum, are starting to subside. The country’s largest foreign carriers said they were continuing to work without interruption.