In a coup d’état in Guinea, a country in West Africa, the Armed Forces captured President Alpha Conde and announced the dissolution of the government last Sunday (5). During the president’s detention, at least two people were injured in an intense firefight in and around the presidential palace, located in Conakry, the country’s capital.
In a televised broadcast, the leader of the coup, Colonel Mamadi Doumbouya, declared that the Armed Forces had seized power in the country and dissolved the government under the command of President Conde. Doumbouya also announced the dissolution of the Constitution and said military leaders would govern Guinea.
The group of soldiers responsible for the coup calls itself the National Committee for Reconciliation and Development. They released a video guaranteeing that Conde is safe in their custody and announced a national curfew, as well as inviting “former presidents of institutions and ministers who are coming out of their posts to a meeting” on Monday, as reported by the Africanews media service .
According to local journalists, although the defense minister said the coup attempt was suppressed, the armed forces are patrolling the city of Conakry and blockaded the Kaloum area, where most official buildings are located, including the presidential palace.
Conde, 83, was elected for a third presidential term in elections held in October 2020 and was declared president the following month, on 7 November. The opposition alleged fraud during the elections. Conde’s decision in March 2020 to amend the constitution (previously limited to two presidential terms) so that he could run for the third time resulted in massive demonstrations across the country led by the opposition. The protesters were repressed with the use of force, with dozens of them killed and hundreds arrested.
Soon after news of the coup, people were seen celebrating in the streets of some regions of the capital, as reported by Al Jazeera.
However, many regional and global leaders have published notes condemning the attempted coup and urging the military to release the president. The Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) threatened sanctions. UN Secretary General António Guterres called on coup leaders to release Alpha Conde immediately. He wrote: “I am personally following the situation in Guinea”.
“I am personally and closely following the situation in Guinea. I strongly condemn any takeover of governments through the use of force of arms and I call for the immediate release of President Alpha Conde,” Guterres said.
Numerous activists and rights groups in Africa also condemned the coup, with some claiming the action was supported by foreign forces such as France, a former colonial power, and the United States. There are allegations that Doumbouya and others have ties to the US Africa Command and were even, in some cases, trained by them.
Guinea was a French colony until 1958, when it achieved formal independence. The country has large reserves of various mineral resources, such as gold, diamond, bauxite and iron ore. Conde was first elected president in 2010 after two years of military rule, and has managed to remain in power ever since, despite the opposition alleging numerous human rights violations and corruption during his tenure.
Edition: Thales Schmidt