Cyril Ramaphosa

South Africa’s President Cyril Ramaphosa has praised West Africa’s regional bloc ECOWAS for developing what he called a “decisive” anti-coup strategy.

West Africa has seen a resurgence of coups in recent months, and the 15-nation Economic Community of West African States has deployed “stabilising” forces in Guinea-Bissau.

After talks with visiting Guinea-Bissau President Umaro Sissoco Embalo, Ramaphosa said Africa should emulate ECOWAS.

The continent has “a lot to learn in the way that ECOWAS is dealing with these matters much as it is experiencing a spate of these coups”.

“The determination and the decisiveness of the leadership in ECOWAS is something that stands out as a very good example for the rest of the continent.”

ECOWAS has deployed a “stabilising support force” in Guinea-Bissau following a reported coup bid in February that claimed 11 lives.

The force includes troops from Ghana, Ivory Coast, Nigeria and Senegal, according to Guinea-Bissau’s leader.

“ECOWAS has found a solution. In Guinea-Bissau I have troops from ECOWAS. We are going to do the same in other countries,” Embalo told reporters.

Guinea-Bissau army spokesman Usmane Kuyate confirmed the arrival of a vanguard of the ECOWAS force.

“We have little information about this force, especially about its deployment on the ground,” he told AFP. “Some of it has already arrived, the rest is still on the way.”

ECOWAS previously deployed a stability and security force in Guinea-Bissau after the 2012 coup that overthrew prime minister Carlos Gomes Junior.

That force left the country in 2020.

Guinea-Bissau, a Portuguese-speaking coastal state of around two million people south of Senegal, had seen four military coups since 1974.

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