Guinean President Alpha Condé seized during military coup

CONAKRY, Guinea – Heavy gunfire rang out around the capital of Guinea on Sunday morning. Then, images surfaced on social networks of th...


CONAKRY, Guinea – Heavy gunfire rang out around the capital of Guinea on Sunday morning. Then, images surfaced on social networks of the president of this West African country detained by men in military fatigues. Finally, the head of the Guinean special forces announced on public television the dissolution of the constitution, the government and all institutions. He had organized a coup d’etat.

And if the recovery proves successful, Guinea will become the third West African country to experience a violent handover in the past five months.

In April, the president who ruled Chad for three decades was killed on the battlefield and replaced by his son in this academics called a “secret coup”. In May, Mali’s vice-president arrested the president, prime minister and defense minister in the country’s second coup in nine months.

Sunday’s coup in Guinea comes barely a year after President Alpha Condé won a controversial third term after changing the Constitution, allowing him to stay in power beyond the two-term limit.

“We are no longer going to entrust politics to one man, we are going to entrust it to the people. We only come for this, ”said Colonel Mamady Doumbouya, the chief of special forces, appearing on state television with the national flag of Guinea draped around his shoulders and members of the military surrounding him. . He said it was “a soldier’s duty to save the country”.

Guinea is no stranger to coups d’état.

Before Mr. Condé became the first democratically elected leader in 2010, there were two military takeovers, in 1984 and 2008.

After taking office, his government made Guinea a major exporter of bauxite, which is used to produce aluminum, but this came at a cost for some Guineans. Human rights groups say mining companies have disrupted the lives and livelihoods of rural communities.

Colonel Doumbouya said he and his men had “grabbed” the president, and on Sunday UN Secretary-General António Guterres, calling for Condé’s release, said he was following the situation closely.

“I strongly condemn any takeover of the government by force of guns,” he said. said on twitter.

The president of the Economic Community of West African States also issued a statement condemning the attempted coup and threatening sanctions if constitutional order is not restored.

Colonel Doumbouya said he was acting in response to the will of the people, and to address endemic poverty and corruption.

“Guinea is beautiful,” he said towards the end of his television ad, offering a blunt analogy: “We don’t need to rape her anymore. You have to make love to her, that’s all.

The borders – land and air – have been closed. The government and all of its institutions were dissolved, Colonel Doumbouya said, and the constitution would be rewritten in consultation with all Guineans.

People described a chaotic situation. A security guard from a pharmacy not far from the Samory Touré military camp was about to return home after his night shift early Sunday morning when suddenly he heard gunshots ringing out.

“We kept hearing gunshots all the time with soldiers walking around the city,” guard Fode Camara said. “I still hear gunshots in the street. Everyone stays at home because the military is preventing people from going out.

On social networks, videos circulated of Mr. Condé apparently in guard, slumped on a sofa, his clothes in a slight mess.

Other videos showed Guineans taking to the streets in celebration and military vehicles moving through Conakry, accompanied by dozens of motorcycles, their drivers raising their fists in the air.

“It’s over! Guinea is free!” Shouted a woman from her balcony overlooking one of Conakry’s main streets.

After Colonel Doumbouya’s announcement, a precarious calm settled down.

“It’s a shame, but it’s the consequence of bad governance,” said Hamidou Diallo, a banking and insurance student at a university in Conakry.

Alsény Kéita, a trader in Matoto, a district of Conakry, accepted.

“Alpha Condé no longer managed this country,” he declared. “His entourage has grown rich on the backs of the people. The military seizure of power is salvation for us who live hand to mouth. The high cost of living suffocates people.

But some remembered the country’s past experience with the coup plotters and feared what was to come.

“Military coups are not good for Guinea,” said Aissatou Diassy, ​​a teacher. Drug trafficking and embezzlement of public funds flourished under the regime of former coup plotters Lansana Conté and Moussa Dadis Camara, she said, adding: “The army must organize a short transition.

The election in Guinea last year was tense. Dozens of people died during clashes between supporters of the government and those of the opposition. Shortly before the elections, Mr. Condé accused the opposition leader, Cellou Dalein Diallo, of trying to recruit mercenaries to attack Guinea. He closed the border, preventing many people living abroad from returning to vote.

Colonel Doumbouya is a former member of the French Foreign Legion. According to videos posted by the Guinean media, he trained at Flintlock, the U.S. Army’s largest annual exercise in Africa.

The name he gave to his junta was the National Committee for “Rally” and Development – gathering being a word that can be translated in many ways, including “gathering”, “rallying” and “reconciliation”.

“What did Jerry Rawlings say? He asked in his lengthy statement on television, referring to the former president of Ghana, who seized power in a coup and reigned first as a military leader, then as democratically elected president. “If the people are crushed by their elites, it is up to the army to give the people their freedom.



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Newsrust - US Top News: Guinean President Alpha Condé seized during military coup
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