Guinea Coup Leader Sworn In As President

In this file photograph taken on September 17, 2021, President of the National Committee for Rally and Development (CNRD) Colonel Mamady Doumbouya (C) leaves a meeting with high level representatives of the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) in Conakry. JOHN WESSELS / AFP

 

Colonel Mamady Doumbouya, who led last month’s coup in Guinea, was sworn in as interim president on Friday promising to respect the West African state’s international commitments while transitioning to civilian rule.

Doumbouya, who led the overthrow of president Alpha Conde on September 5, was sworn in by Supreme Court head Mamadou Sylla for a transition period of unspecified length.

The new interim president spoke of his “commitment” that neither he nor any member of the junta would stand in any future elections that the military have promised to organise after the transition period.

His administration’s mission is to “refound the state” he said, by drafting a new constitution, fighting corruption, reforming the electoral system and then organising “free, credible and transparent” elections.

He once again said nothing at the time of his swearing in about how long he will remain the interim leader.

The new president also promised to “respect all the national and international commitments to which the country has subscribed.”

READ ALSOCôte d’Ivoire Probing Minister Over Rape Allegation

‘Failed’ Coup Attempt Reported In Sudan

Turbulence 

Wearing a beige dress uniform, red beret and dark glasses, the new national leader also vowed to “loyally preserve national sovereignty” and to “consolidate democratic achievements, guarantee the independence of the fatherland and the integrity of the national territory”.

The ceremony was held at the Mohammed-V palace in Conakry on the eve of a public holiday celebrating the 1958 declaration of independence from France.

Doumbouya will serve as transitional president until the country returns to civilian rule, according to a blueprint unveiled by the junta on Monday that does not mention a timeline.

The September 5 coup, the latest bout of turbulence in one of Africa’s most volatile countries, saw the overthrow of 83-year-old president Conde.

Conde became Guinea’s first democratically elected president in 2010 and was re-elected in 2015.

But last year he pushed through a controversial new constitution that allowed him to run for a third term in October 2020.

The move sparked mass demonstrations in which dozens of protesters were killed. Conde won re-election but the political opposition maintained the poll was a sham.

The “charter” unveiled on Monday vows that  a new constitution will be drafted and “free, democratic and transparent” elections held, but does not spell out how long the transition will last.

The document says the transitional president will be “head of state and supreme chief of the armed forces… (and) determines the policies of the Nation,” with the power to name and fire an interim prime minister.

However, the president will be barred from being a candidate at the elections that will take place after the transition, it says.

The turbulence in the former French colony has sparked deep concern among Guinea’s neighbours.

The coup is the second to take place in the region, after Mali, in less than 13 months.

The region’s bloc, the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS), is demanding that elections be held within six months, as well as Conde’s release.

AFP

Guinea Junta Leader To Be Sworn In As President

In this file photograph taken on September 17, 2021, President of the National Committee for Rally and Development (CNRD) Colonel Mamady Doumbouya (C) leaves a meeting with high level representatives of the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) in Conakry. JOHN WESSELS / AFP

 

Mamady Doumbouya, a special forces colonel who led a coup in the West African state of Guinea on September, will be sworn in as interim president on Friday, the authorities say.

Doumbouya will be sworn in at noon (1200 GMT) at the Mohammed V conference centre in the capital Conakry, a communique read late Wednesday on national television said.

He will become transitional president, serving before the country returns to civilian rule, according to a blueprint unveiled by the junta on Monday that does not mention a timeline.

The September 5 coup, the latest bout of turbulence in one of Africa’s most volatile countries, saw the overthrow of 83-year-old president Alpha Conde.

Conde became Guinea’s first democratically elected president in 2010 and was re-elected in 2015.

But last year he pushed through a controversial new constitution that allowed him to run for a third term in October 2020.

The move sparked mass demonstrations in which dozens of protesters were killed. Conde won re-election but the political opposition maintained the poll was a sham.

The “charter” unveiled on Monday vows that  a new constitution will be drafted and “free, democratic and transparent” elections held, but does not spell out how long the transition will last.

READ ALSO: Côte d’Ivoire Probing Minister Over Rape Allegation

‘Failed’ Coup Attempt Reported In Sudan

The document says the transitional president will be “head of state and supreme chief of the armed forces… (and) determines the policies of the Nation,” with the power to name and fire an interim prime minister.

However, the president will be barred from being a candidate at the elections that will take place after the transition, it says.

The turbulence in the former French colony has sparked deep concern among Guinea’s neighbours.

The coup is the second to take place in the region, after Mali, in less than 13 months.

The region’s bloc, the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS), is demanding that elections be held within six months, as well as Conde’s release.

AFP

Guinea Junta Defies Poll Pressure, Rules Out Exile For Ex-President

Guinea Map

 

 

Guinea’s ruling junta on Saturday ruled out exile for detained former president Alpha Conde and said transition towards civilian rule would be done in accordance with “the will of the people”.

The statement from the ruling council came in defiance of international pressure for Conde’s release and a six-month timetable for elections after a coup on September 5 sparked global condemnation.

It also followed the visit on Friday of a mission from ECOWAS led by two heads of state from the 15-member West African bloc.

Mamady Doumbouya, the colonel who led the coup, told the visiting delegation that “it was important for ECOWAS to listen to the legitimate aspirations of the people of Guinea,” said a junta spokesman, Colonel Amara Camara, at the ruling council’s first press conference on the six-month deadline.

Doumbouya stressed the need not to repeat the “mistakes of the past”, recalling that national consultations to outline the transition had begun on Tuesday and that “only the sovereign people of Guinea will decide its destiny”, Camara said.

“It is also clear to all parties that the former president will remain in Guinea,” he added.

During their visit, the Ghanaian head of state Nana Akufo-Addo, whose country holds the rotating presidency of ECOWAS, and his Ivorian counterpart Alassane Ouattara, presented the junta with the organisation’s demands for elections within six months.

They also insisted on the release of Conde.

“We had very frank, fraternal talks with Colonel Doumbouya and his associates and collaborators and I think that ECOWAS and Guinea will find a way to walk together,” Akufo-Addo said at the end of the visit.

The ruling council, which now designates Doumbouya as “President of the Republic and Head of State”, said that the consultation sessions scheduled for Friday with banks, insurance companies and unions would be held on Saturday.

This consultation will continue next week, it announced, including Monday meetings with cultural actors, press associations and those within the informal sector.

The military has already held talks with political parties, religious leaders, the heads of mining companies, key players in this poor but resource-rich country, and other figures.

Guinea Declares End Of Marburg Virus Outbreak, Says WHO

A picture of the billboard of the World Health Organization (WHO)

 

Guinea has declared the end of an outbreak of the Marburg virus, which belongs to the same family as Ebola, the World Health Organization said Thursday.

Health authorities in the country confirmed West Africa’s first recorded case of Marburg on August 9, in a man whose infection was detected after he had died a week earlier.

No treatment or vaccine exists for Marburg, which belongs to the same filovirus family as Ebola and is somewhat less deadly.

Its symptoms include high fever and internal and external bleeding.

To prevent the spread of the virus, Guinean health authorities began monitoring the Marburg victim’s contact cases.

The WHO said in a statement that no other cases had been detected since, and the outbreak is over.

“Without immediate and decisive action, highly infectious diseases like Marburg can easily get out of hand,” the statement quoted WHO Africa director Matshidiso Moeti as saying.

She added that Guinea’s growing expertise in responding to viral outbreaks had prevented a “spillover” and saved lives.

A poor nation of 13 million people, Guinea was hit hard by the 2013-16 West African Ebola outbreak, which killed about 2,300 people in the country.

Ebola resurfaced in northeastern Guinea in February, killing 12 people, before that outbreak was declared over in June.

AFP

Osinbajo To Represent Nigeria At ECOWAS Meeting In Accra

Vice President Yemi Osinbajo (SAN) boarding an aircraft.

 

Vice President Yemi Osinbajo (SAN) will be representing Nigeria at the 2nd Extraordinary Summit of the ECOWAS Authority of Heads of State and Government on the political situation in the Republic of Guinea.

The Vice President who left Abuja on Thursday morning for Accra, Ghana, was accompanied by the Foreign Affairs Minister of State, Ambassador Zubairu Dada, and is expected back in Abuja later in the day.

This was disclosed in a statement by his media aide, Laolu Akande.

Professor Osinbajo had participated virtually in the previous ECOWAS Extraordinary Summit on the political situation in Guinea and Mali on September 8.


RELATED

Coup: ECOWAS Foreign Ministers To Visit Guinea

ECOWAS Envoy: Deposed Guinea President Alpha Conde Is Well


 

The leaders had, at the meeting, decided that Guinea would be immediately suspended from all ECOWAS governing bodies and statutory meetings.

They had also called for the immediate and unconditional release of President Alpha Conde and other arrested persons, demanded the immediate return of Guinea to constitutional order, and decided to immediately dispatch a high-level ECOWAS mission to Guinea to assess the situation.

The physical meeting taking place today will review the situation in the west-African country in the light of the report of the ECOWAS high-level mission to Conakry.

Coup: African Union Suspends Guinea

AU logo

 

Guinea’s ruling military came under diplomatic pressure on Friday as the African Union suspended the country over last weekend’s coup and West African envoys arrived to mediate in the crisis.

The regional bloc ECOWAS had already suspended Guinea after special forces led by Lieutenant Colonel Mamady Doumbouya seized power on Sunday and arrested president Alpha Conde.

On Friday, the African Union (AU) followed suit, tweeting that it had decided “to suspend the Republic of Guinea from all AU activities and decision-making bodies.”

Mediators from ECOWAS — the 15-nation Economic Community of West African States — also landed in the capital Conakry on Friday, AFP journalists saw.

ECOWAS Commission President Jean-Claude Kassi Brou is part of the delegation, as are the Nigerian, Ghanaian, Burkinabe and Togolese foreign ministers.

Coup leader Doumbouya met the envoys at a hotel in Conakry on Friday afternoon. The delegation, which is also due to meet Conde, is set to Guinea leave the same evening.

Increasing pressure on Guinea comes amid rising fears of democratic backsliding across West Africa, where strongmen are an increasingly familiar sight.

Guinea’s putsch has drawn parallels with its neighbour Mali, which has suffered two coups since August last year led by Colonel Assimi Goita, who was also a special forces commander.

Condemnation 

A screen grab taken from footage sent to AFP by a military source on September 5, 2021 shows the President of Guinea Conakry Alpha Conde after he was captured by army putschists during a coup d’etat in Conakry on September 5, 2021. (Photo by – / MILITARY SOURCE / AFP)

 

On Wednesday, ECOWAS called for Conde’s “immediate and unconditional release.”

It also urged “the immediate return to constitutional order” and demanded that the security forces “maintain a constitutional posture.”

The US embassy in Conakry on Friday stated that Guinea should “immediately restore democracy.”

Guinea’s putschists have formed a junta named the CNRD, which has dissolved the government and the constitution.

Doumbouya appeared on television hours after the coup and accused the Conde government of “endemic corruption” and of “trampling on citizens’ rights”.

He has pledged to open talks on forming a new government, but it is not yet clear when, or under what form, these may take place.

When faced with a similar predicament in Mali last year, ECOWAS imposed economic sanctions on the country, but lifted them after Mali’s ruling military committed to restoring civilian rule.

RELATED: UN Chief Condemns Military ‘Takeover’ In Guinea, Demands President’s Release

 ‘Bury Democracy’ 

File photo: People celebrate in the streets with members of Guinea’s armed forces after the arrest of Guinea’s president, Alpha Conde, in a coup d’etat in Conakry, September 5, 2021 CELLOU BINANI / AFP

 

Public discontent in Guinea had been brewing for months over a flatlining Covid-hit economy and the leadership of Conde, who became the first democratically elected president in 2010 and was re-elected in 2015.

But last year, Conde pushed through a new constitution enabling him to run for a third term in October 2020.

The move sparked mass demonstrations in which dozens of protesters were killed. Conde won the election but the political opposition maintained the poll was a sham.

After the coup, the junta freed about 80 political activists detained under Conde and banned ex-ministers from leaving the country.

On Thursday, it also said it had temporarily frozen ex-ministers’ bank accounts.

Coup leader Doumbouya has nonetheless promised there will be no “witch hunt” against members of the former regime.

The military has also guaranteed the safety of Conde, whose whereabouts are unknown.

The coup was greeted with jubilation in some parts of Conakry, where residents in some districts came flooded the streets to applaud the soldiers.

But Conde supporters are bitter. Victor Leno, a schoolteacher and a member of Conde’s RPG party, said that “in one day, the military really came and buried this beautiful democracy”.

An RPG spokesman Mahmoudou Traore warned against trusting the military’s promises of a transition.

“They will stay in power for five, six (or) seven years,” he predicted.

Aluminium Shock

Guinea is one of the poorest countries in the world, despite its abundant reserves of minerals including iron ore, gold and diamonds.

The former French colony also has the world’s largest reserves of bauxite, the primary source of aluminium. Mining is the driver of the economy.

News of the coup sent the price of aluminium soaring to its highest level in 13 years this week, and triggered concern about the commodity supply chain among businesses.

Doumbouya has pledged continuity in the mining sector and said this week that Guinea will “uphold all its undertakings (and) mining agreements”.

AFP

ECOWAS Suspends Guinea After Coup

ECOWAS logo

 

West Africa bloc ECOWAS has decided to suspend Guinea following a recent coup in the country, Burkinabe Foreign Minister Alpha Barry said Wednesday after a virtual crisis summit. 

The Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) will also send a mediation mission to Guinea on Thursday, Barry told reporters in Burkina Faso’s capital Ouagadougou.

The move comes after Guinean special forces led by Lieutenant Colonel Mamady Doumbouya seized power on Sunday and arrested president Alpha Conde, sparking international condemnation.

Conde had come under increasing fire for perceived authoritarianism.

The 83-year-old  became the first democratically elected president in 2010 and was re-elected in 2015.

But last year, he pushed through a new constitution that allowed him to run for a third term in October 2020.

The move sparked mass demonstrations in which dozens of protesters were killed. Conde won the election but the political opposition maintained that the poll was a sham.

RELATED: UN Chief Condemns Military ‘Takeover’ In Guinea, Demands President’s Release

Regional bloc ECOWAS convened an extraordinary virtual summit to discuss the turmoil in Guinea on Wednesday.

Afterwards, Burkinabe Foreign Minister Alpha Barry said that ECOWAS would also request that the Africa Union and United Nations endorse its decision to suspend Guinea.

The putsch has sparked fears of democratic backsliding across the region, where military strongman are an increasingly familiar sight.

In Guinea’s neighbour Mali, strongman Colonel Assimi Goita has launched two coups since last August.

AFP

Guinea Awaits Future After Coup Leaders Demand Talks

People celebrate in the streets with members of Guinea’s armed forces after the arrest of Guinea’s president, Alpha Conde, in a coup d’etat in Conakry, September 5, 2021. 
CELLOU BINANI / AFP

 

The West African state of Guinea awaited word on its future on Monday as a new military junta summoned the outgoing cabinet a day after toppling the president.

Elite troops led by Lieutenant-colonel Mamady Doumbouya told outgoing ministers and institutional leaders to gather at 1100 GMT at parliament in the capital Conakry.

“Any refusal to attend will be considered a rebellion,” they warned.

Impoverished and volatile, the West African state was hit by fresh turmoil on Sunday when special forces arrested 83-year-old President Alpha Conde, declared they were scrapping the constitution and imposed a curfew.

Land borders have been shut, the government dissolved and top governors and other senior administrators have been replaced by the military, the junta said.

Discontent had been growing for months over a flatlining Covid-hit economy and the leadership of Conde, who became Guinea’s first democratically elected president in 2010.

Five years later, he was re-elected — but in 2020 he sparked fury after ramming through changes to the constitution enabling him to sidestep a two-term limit.

Doumbouya appeared on public television on Sunday draped in the national flag, accusing the government of “endemic corruption” and “trampling of citizens’ rights”.

“We are no longer going to entrust politics to one man, we are going to entrust politics to the people,” the coup leader said.

“Guinea is beautiful. We don’t need to rape Guinea anymore, we just need to make love to her.”

He promised to launch a “national consultation to open an inclusive and calm transition.”

An umbrella group called the FNDC, which led protests against Conde’s constitutional changes, said imprisoned members would be freed on Monday.

A video sent to AFP by the putschists on Sunday showed Conde sitting on a sofa surrounded by troops.

Wearing a rumpled shirt and jeans and sitting on a sofa, he refused to answer a question from a soldier about whether he had been mistreated.

 

Troubled nation

 

People celebrate in the streets with members of Guinea’s armed forces after the arrest of Guinea’s president, Alpha Conde, in a coup d’etat in Conakry, September 5, 2021. 
CELLOU BINANI / AFP

 

Guinea’s 13 million people are among the poorest in the world even though their country is a treasure trove of minerals from bauxite and iron ore to gold and diamonds.

It has rarely known stability since declaring independence from France in 1958 and bloody repression is entrenched.

Conde was accused of following that same path towards authoritarianism in the final years of his rule.

Dozens of people were killed during demonstrations against his bid for a third term and hundreds more were arrested.

He was proclaimed president last year after elections that his main challenger Cellou Dalein Diallo and other opposition figures denounced as a sham.

The latest turbulence erupted on Sunday morning, when gunfire broke out in the centre of Conakry. For several hours, the situation was unclear, as the government said an attack on the presidential palace had been “repulsed”.

There has been no official account of any casualties and there was no report of any major incident during the night.

The end of Conde’s regime triggered jubilation in some parts of Conakry, especially in pro-opposition districts.

The junta on Sunday said that land and air borders had been closed, but on Monday said that air frontiers had been reopened.

Conakry, usually a bustling city, awoke in calm on Monday. Many shops were closed, and the main market of Medina was exceptionally quiet.

 

 International condemnation

 

(Photo by Angela Weiss / AFP)

 

Outside Guinea, international leaders condemned the latest bout of turmoil in West Africa, a region where many countries are struggling with poverty, inequality and jihadist bloodshed.

“Violence and any extra-constitutional measures will only erode Guinea’s prospects for peace, stability, and prosperity,” US State Department spokesperson Ned Price said, urging all parties to abide by the rule of law.

The African Union and the United Nations both called for Conde’s release.

The Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS), through its acting president, Ghana’s leader Nana Akufo-Addo, threatened sanctions if Guinea’s constitutional order was not restored.

The EU and France, the former colonial power, have both condemned the coup — the latest in a region that has seen recent military takeovers in Mali and Chad.

-AFP

Guinea Coup Leaders Announce Nationwide Curfew

 

Special forces who seized power in Guinea on Sunday, capturing President Alpha Conde, announced a nationwide curfew “until further notice” as well as the replacement of governors by the military.

The junta also said in a statement read out over national television that it would convene Conde’s cabinet ministers and other top officials at 11:00 am (1100 GMT) Monday in the capital Conakry.

Army putschists in Guinea on Sunday  had arrested the president and staged a coup, in the latest political upheaval to roil the impoverished west African country, as the government insisted it had repelled the attack.

“We have decided, after having taken the president, to dissolve the constitution,” said a uniformed officer flanked by soldiers toting assault rifles in a video sent to AFP.

 

RELATED: UN Chief Condemns Military ‘Takeover’ In Guinea, Demands President’s Release

 

The officer also said that Guinea’s land and air borders have been shut and the government dissolved.

Violent Elections 

The most recent presidential poll in the nation of some 13 million people, in October 2020, was violently disputed and also marred by accusations of electoral fraud.

Conde won a controversial third term in that poll, but only after pushing through a new constitution in March 2020 that allowed him to sidestep the country’s two-term limit.

Dozens of people were killed during demonstrations against a third term for the president, often in clashes with security forces. Hundreds were also arrested.

Conde was then proclaimed president on November 7 last year — despite his main challenger Cellou Dalein Diallo as well as other opposition figures calling the election a sham.

A screengrab taken from footage sent to AFP by a military source on September 5, 2021 shows the President of Guinea Conakry Alpha Conde after he was captured by army putschists during a coup d’etat in Conakry on September 5, 2021. AFP PHOTO / MILITARY SOURCE” 

 

After the poll, the government launched a crackdown and arrested several prominent opposition members for their alleged role in abetting electoral violence in the country.

A former opposition leader himself who was at one point imprisoned and sentenced to death, Conde became Guinea’s first democratically-elected leader in 2010 and won re-election in 2015.

Hopes of a new political dawn in the former French colony have withered, however, and he has been accused of drifting into authoritarianis

FG Condemns Coup In Guinea

Members of the Armed Forces of Guinea drive through the central neighbourhood of Kaloum in Conakry on September 5, 2021, after sustainable gunfire was heard. CELLOU BINANI / AFP

 

The Nigerian Government has condemned what it describes as an apparent coup d’état in the Republic of Guinea.

A spokesperson for the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Mrs Esther Sunsuwa, made the position of the government known in a statement on Sunday.

According to the statement, the takeover of power by the military is in clear violation of the ECOWAS Protocol on Democracy and Good Governance.

“The Government of Nigeria strongly condemns and rejects any unconstitutional change of government and therefore calls on those behind this coup to restore constitutional order without delay and protect all lives and property,” it said.

The statement was issued following reports that special forces in Guinea have taken over power in what appears to be a new twist in the political unrest in the West African country.

As a result, incumbent President Alpha Conde who has been in office since December 2010, was said to have been arrested by the soldiers.

“We have decided, after having taken the president, to dissolve the constitution,” a uniformed officer flanked by soldiers wielding assault rifles was quoted as saying in a video sent to AFP.

A screengrab taken from footage sent to AFP by a military source on September 5, 2021 shows the President of Guinea Conakry Alpha Conde after he was captured by army putschists during a coup d’etat in Conakry on September 5, 2021. MILITARY SOURCE / AFP

 

The soldier announced that Guinea’s land and air borders have been shut and that the government had been dissolved.

Thereafter, the head of Guinea’s military special forces, Lieutenant Colonel Mamady Doumbouya, was said to have appeared on public television.

Wrapped in the country’s flag, Doumbouya revealed that his action was triggered by “mismanagement” by the government.

“We are no longer going to entrust politics to one man, we are going to entrust politics to the people,” the coup leader said. “Guinea is beautiful. We don’t need to rape Guinea anymore; we just need to make love to her.”

There has been lingering political tension in Guinea, first spurred by the bid for a third term by President Conde’s in 2020.

Another video sent to AFP showed a rumpled-looking President Conde sitting on a sofa, surrounded by troops.

The 83-year-old who survived an assassination attempt in 2011 refused to answer a question from a soldier about whether he was being mistreated while in their custody.

Sunday’s incident in Guinea has continued to attract condemnation and criticism, one of which was the reaction of UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres who asked the putschists to release Conde.

“I am personally following the situation in Guinea very closely,” he said in a social media post. “I strongly condemn any takeover of the government by force of the gun and call for the immediate release of President Alpha Conde.”

A screengrab taken from footage sent to AFP by a military source on September 5, 2021, shows Guinean Colonel Doumbouya delivering a speech following the capture of the President of Guinea Conakry and the dissolution of the government during a coup d’etat in Conakry on September 5, 2021. MILITARY SOURCE / AFP

UN Chief Condemns Military ‘Takeover’ In Guinea, Demands President’s Release

UN Council Must Prevent Syria 'Spiralling Out Of Control' - Guterres
A file photo of UN Secretary-General, Antonio Guterres. Keith/Getty Images/AFP

 

UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres condemned Sunday’s apparent coup in Guinea and urged putschists who said they had seized power to release the country’s detained president.

“I am personally following the situation in Guinea very closely. I strongly condemn any takeover of the government by force of the gun and call for the immediate release of President Alpha Conde,” Guterres tweeted.

Guinean special forces staged a coup on Sunday, arresting the president, in the latest political upheaval to roil the impoverished west African country.

“We have decided, after having taken the president, to dissolve the constitution,” said a uniformed officer flanked by soldiers toting assault rifles in a video sent to AFP.

The officer also said that Guinea’s land and air borders have been shut and the government has been dissolved.

Another video sent to AFP by the putschists showed a rumpled-looking President Alpha Conde sitting on a sofa, surrounded by troops. He refused to answer a question from one soldier about whether he was being mistreated.

Guinea — one of the world’s poorest countries despite boasting significant mineral resources — has long been beset by political instability.

Earlier on Sunday, residents of the capital Conakry’s Kaloum district, the government quarter, reported hearing heavy gunfire.

A Western diplomat in Conakry who declined to be named suggested the unrest may have started after the dismissal of a senior commander in the special forces — provoking some of its highly trained members to rebel.

AFP was unable to independently confirm this account.

 

A screengrab taken from footage sent to AFP by a military source on September 5, 2021 shows the President of Guinea Conakry Alpha Conde after he was captured by army putschists during a coup d’etat in Conakry on September 5, 2021. MILITARY SOURCE / AFP

 

Later on, the head of Guinea’s military special forces, Lieutenant-Colonel Mamady Doumbouya, appeared on public television, draped in the national flag, and cited government “mismanagement” as a reason behind his actions.

“We are no longer going to entrust politics to one man, we are going to entrust politics to the people,” the coup leader said.

“Guinea is beautiful. We don’t need to rape Guinea anymore, we just need to make love to her,” Doumbouya added.

The putsch comes amid a long period of political tension in Guinea, first spurred by Conde’s highly contested bid for a third presidential term last year.

The day before the presidential election last year, the military blocked access to Kaloum after an alleged military rebellion east of the capital.

Conde, 83, also survived an assassination attempt in 2011.

AFP

Military Arrests Guinea President, Takes Over Power

In this file photo taken on May 29, 2018 Guinean President Alpha Conde addresses MPs during a plenary session at the European Parliament in Strasbourg, eastern France. FREDERICK FLORIN / AFP
In this file photo taken on May 29, 2018 Guinean President Alpha Conde addresses MPs during a plenary session at the European Parliament in Strasbourg, eastern France. FREDERICK FLORIN / AFP

 

Army putschists in Guinea said on Sunday they had arrested the president and staged a coup, in the latest political upheaval to roil the impoverished west African country, as the government insisted it had repelled the attack. 

“We have decided, after having taken the president, to dissolve the constitution,” said a uniformed officer flanked by soldiers toting assault rifles in a video sent to AFP.

The officer also said that Guinea’s land and air borders have been shut and the government dissolved.

READ ALSO:  Tanzania In New Crackdown On Opposition Party

But the situation remained unclear as Conde’s government released a rival statement saying that an attack on the presidential palace by special forces had been “repulsed”.

Another video sent to AFP by the putschists showed a rumpled-looking President Alpha Conde sitting on a sofa, surrounded by troops. He refused to answer a question from one soldier about whether he was being mistreated.

Guinea — one of the world’s poorest countries despite boasting significant mineral resources — has long been beset by political instability.

Earlier on Sunday, residents of the capital Conakry’s Kaloum district, the government quarter, reported hearing heavy gunfire.

Speaking on condition of anonymity for their safety, they reported seeing a number of soldiers on the streets who called on residents to return to their homes and stay there.

Guinea Map

 

A Western diplomat in Conakry, who also declined to be named, said the unrest started after the dismissal of a senior commander in the special forces — provoking some of its highly trained members to rebel and occupy the presidential palace.

AFP was unable to independently confirm this account.

Later on Sunday, the head of Guinea’s military special forces Lieutenant-Colonel Mamady Doumbouya appeared on public television, draped in the national flag, and cited government “mismanagement” as a reason behind his actions.

The apparent coup comes amid a long period of political tension in Guinea, first spurred by Conde’s highly contested bid for a third presidential term last year.

The day before the presidential election last year, the military blocked access to Kaloum after an alleged military rebellion east of the capital.

Conde, 83, also survived an assassination attempt in 2011.

 

Violent Elections 

The most recent presidential poll in the nation of some 13 million people, in October 2020, was violently disputed and also marred by accusations of electoral fraud.

Conde won a controversial third term in that poll, but only after pushing through a new constitution in March 2020 that allowed him to sidestep the country’s two-term limit.

A screengrab taken from footage sent to AFP by a military source on September 5, 2021, shows the President of Guinea Conakry Alpha Conde after he was captured by army putschists during a coup d’etat in Conakry on September 5, 2021. MILITARY SOURCE / AFP

 

Dozens of people were killed during demonstrations against a third term for the president, often in clashes with security forces. Hundreds were also arrested.

Conde was then proclaimed president on November 7 last year — despite his main challenger Cellou Dalein Diallo as well as other opposition figures calling the election a sham.

After the poll, the government launched a crackdown and arrested several prominent opposition members for their alleged role in abetting electoral violence in the country.

A former opposition leader himself who was at one point imprisoned and sentenced to death, Conde became Guinea’s first democratically-elected leader in 2010 and won re-election in 2015.

Hopes of a new political dawn in the former French colony have withered, however, and he has been accused of drifting into authoritarianism.

AFP