In Guinea, West Africa, sections of the military have put into coups against the government and, according to their own statements, captured President Alpha Condé. Special forces of the army had “dissolved” the government, it was said in a video of the coup plotters, which the AFP news agency received on Sunday. The Defense Ministry said an attack on the presidential seat by special forces had been repulsed.
After the president’s capture, it was decided to repeal the constitution and dissolve the institutions, the putschists said in the video. “We have also decided to overthrow the government and close the borders,” said the chief of the special forces, Lt. Col. Mamady Doumbouya in the video. Doumbouya’s statement was later shown on state television, denouncing “mismanagement” wrapped in a Guinean flag.
President Condé in the power of the coup plotters can also be seen in a video. The head of state – sitting on a sofa in jeans and a shirt – refuses to answer the putschists’ question as to whether he has been mistreated.
The Defense Ministry said “the insurgents” had spread fear and terror in the capital, Conakry, and attacked the presidential palace. The presidential guard, supported by the defense and security forces, would have pushed back the attackers.
Gunfire had previously been reported from Conakry. The military was mainly seen on the streets of the Kaloum peninsula, where the presidential office and numerous government institutions of the West African country are, as an AFP reporter reported.
“I saw a column of military vehicles with soldiers shooting into the air shouting military slogans,” a Conakry resident told AFP. “The soldiers were all hooded.”
A Western diplomat said he had “no doubts” that an attempted coup led by special forces was underway. The diplomat, who wanted to remain anonymous, suspected tensions between the government and the commander of the special unit, which has better resources than other security forces, as the cause.
UN General Secretary António Guterres condemned “any takeover of government by armed force”. He called for the president to be released immediately.
Condé had passed a constitutional amendment last year that allowed him a third term. In October, the now 83-year-old was declared the winner of the violent, controversial election, which led to mass protests. Dozens of people were killed in clashes with the security forces.
After decades of dictatorship, Condé was the first democratically elected President of Guinea in 2010. However, human rights activists criticized the increasingly authoritarian leadership style of the head of state. Condé, on the other hand, boasts of promoting human rights and rebuilding the country.