Special forces officers who captured Guinea’s President Alpha Condé and proclaimed the dissolution of the institutions this Sunday (5), announced a nationwide curfew “until further notice”.
In a statement read on national television this evening, the military also announced the replacement of regional governors and mayors by the military and called the outgoing ministers and presidents of the institutions to a meeting on Monday at 11:00 am (8:00 am EDT) at capital Conakry.
- Soldiers say government and Constitution are deprived, but Ministry of Defense denies
Soldiers in the city of Conakry, Guinea, on September 5, 2021 — Photo: Cellou Binani / AFP/AFP
Guinea’s elite forces claimed to have captured President Alpha Condé, conquered the capital Conakry and “dissolved” the institutions.
This military coup could remove from power a veteran of African politics who was increasingly isolated. The possible end of more than ten years of Condé’s rule provoked scenes of rejoicing in various parts of the capital.
Alpha Conde, President of Guinea, in August 2019 image — Photo: Eric Gaillard/AP
So far, no deaths have been recorded during the coup, despite the intense gunfire heard in the morning in the capital of this West African country, which has been experiencing a serious economic and political crisis for months.
UN Secretary General Antonio Guterres “vehemently” condemned the apparent coup in Guinea and urged officials who claim to have seized power and dissolved the government to release the 83-year-old president.
“We decided, after arresting the president, who is currently with us (…), to suppress the Constitution in force, dissolve the institutions, and also the government, as well as close land and air borders”, declared one of the coup plotters, in a press release posted on social media.
Denouncing the “chaos” of the government, the head of the special forces, Lt. Col. Mamady Dumbuya, wrapped in a Guinean flag, reiterated his statement on national television.
The scammers broadcast a video of the arrested president. When asked if he was mistreated, Condé, in jeans and a shirt, sitting on a sofa, refuses to answer.
“We have all of Conakry and we have all the defense and security forces to put an end to Guinean evil once and for all,” Lieutenant Colonel Dumbuya, a hitherto unknown personality, told the France 24 television network.
“Rewrite a Constitution together”
Hundreds of Conakry residents, especially in the pro-opposition suburbs, took to the streets to cheer for soldiers, discovered AFP journalists.
“We are proud of the special forces, shame on former president Alpha Condé’s militia, death to the torturers and murderers of our youth,” exclaimed one protester on condition of anonymity.
“We are going to rewrite a Constitution together, this time, the whole of Guinea”, guaranteed the coup leader. “We no longer need to rape Guinea, we simply need to make love to her,” he concluded.
The main opposition leaders, when sought by AFP, declined to comment.
But the National Front for the Defense of the Constitution (FNDC), a coalition of political movements and civil society that led the protest against Condé’s third term, said it was aware of the “dictator’s arrest” and the military’s declarations about the Constitution.
In the morning, fire resounded with heavy automatic weapons in the district of Kalum, the nerve center of Conakry, where the headquarters of the presidency, institutions and business offices are located.
“I saw a column of military vehicles, aboard which very excited soldiers were shooting into the air and chanting military slogans,” a resident of the Tombo neighborhood, near the center, told AFP.
For months, this West African country has been going through a serious economic and political crisis, aggravated by the Covid-19 pandemic. It is one of the poorest in the world, despite considerable mineral and water resources.
A former historical opponent, imprisoned and even sentenced to death, Condé was the country’s first democratically elected president in 2010, after decades of authoritarian regimes.
For his opponents and defenders of democracy, Condé is on the list of African leaders who remain in power beyond what is stipulated, more and more often and based on legal arguments.
Last year, his candidacy for a third term generated months of tension, with dozens dead and imprisoned. Condé was finally proclaimed president for a new term on November 7, despite the appeals of several candidates who denounced all kinds of electoral irregularities.
Human rights defenders denounce an authoritarian shift in the last years of Condé’s presidency.
Originally scheduled to take place this Monday at the Stade Général Lansana Conté, in Conakry, the match between Guinea and Morocco, valid for the 2022 World Cup qualifiers, has been postponed.
The African Football Confederation said the postponement was to “guarantee safety and integrity for all athletes and to protect everyone involved in the match”. There is no new date yet.