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ECOWAS emergency meeting

An emergency meeting of West African foreign ministers began on Monday with the violent overthrow of the presidents of Guinea Bissau and Niger and the war in Sierra Leone as its main focus, news reports said. Niger's president, Ibrahim Bare Mainassara, was shot dead by his presidential guard on 9 April and, on 7 May, Guinea Bissau's Joao Bernardo Vieira was overthrown by a Military Junta. Reuters reported that the executive secretary of the 16-member Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS), Lansana Kouyate, called for sanctions against the new leaders in Guinea Bissau and Niger. "It is time to bring an end to coups which only tarnish the image of our sub-region," Kouyate told Reuters. "If we are silent it will continue." The commander of ECOMOG - the ECOWAS peace monitoring force in Sierra Leone - Major General Felix Mujakperuo, was scheduled to brief the meeting, which representatives of the Organisation of African Unity and the UN were also expected to attend.

This article was produced by IRIN News while it was part of the United Nations Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs. Please send queries on copyright or liability to the UN. For more information:

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