Addis Ababa, Ethiopia (PANA) - The African Union (AU) Tuesday suspended Guinea Bissau from the 54-member bloc with immediate effect, a senior AU official said.
The Pan-African organization also threatened to impose more sanctions on the West African nation if the soldiers who seized power there failed to respond positively to the call to restore constitutional order.
The decision to suspend Guinea Bissau's membership was taken by the AU's Peace and Security Council (PSC), after discussing Thursday's military coup in the country.
AU's Commissioner for Peace and Security Ramtane Lamamra said the continental body took the decision to suspend Guinea Bissau after confirming that indeed a military coup has taken place in the country.
He said further sanctions, including assets freeze, could be taken if the putschists failed to restore constitutional order.
Commissioner Lamamra said the actors involved in the coup are ''judicially liable'' and will be held responsible for the safety of the officials who have been deposed by the coup.
He also hinted that the AU is considering the deployment of an international “stabilizing force” in the country, which had been scheduled to hold the second round of its presidential election 29 April, a process that has now been truncated by the coup.
Earlier Tuesday, AU Commission Chairperson Jean Ping slammed the ''window-dressing'' of the coup by the junta, referring to the soldiers' plan to push political parties to form a transitional government of national unity.
-0- PANA OR/SEG 17April2012