ECOWAS condemns mutiny in Cote d'Ivoire

  Lagos- Nigeria (PANA) -- The Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) Friday condemned the mutiny by demobilised soldiers in Cote d'Ivoire, which the country's authorities have described as a failed military coup.
   "The Executive Secretary of ECOWAS, Mohammed Ibn Chambas, condemns in its totality the violent activities in Cote d'Ivoire of soldiers reportedly resisting their demobilisation," ECOWAS said in a statement issued in Abuja.
   "Such unconstitutional conduct by unruly soldiers is not helpful to the country which is in the process of restoring its reputation as a bastion of peace and stability in the sub-region," the statement said.
   Former Ivorian military leader Robert Guei and Interior Minister Emile Boga Doudou were among those killed in the abortive coup.
   "We are saddened by the avoidable loss of lives during the putsch," ECOWAS said.
   "Grievances, no matter how legitimate, cannot provide a justification for a resort to violence but should be ventilated through due process.
In an apparent reference to the government's claim that the action of the rebel soldiers amounted to an attempted military coup, the sub-regional group reiterated the sanctity of the provisions of the ECOWAS Protocol on Good Governance, under which member states made a commitment to "zero tolerance to power obtained or maintained by unconstitutional means".
   ECOWAS said it was especially concerned that the military uprising came soon after the mutiny of some soldiers in Niger.
   "These events are worrisome as they undermine the efforts to build a democratic culture in the West African sub-region," it said, adding: "ECOWAS restates its commitment to the transition to democracy, respect for human rights, the rule of law and good governance in several member states.
   It called on all members of the armed forces of the sub-region to remain loyal and faithful to defend the constitutions, independence and territorial integrity of member states.

20 september 2002 13:38:00

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