Guinean elite forces officials affirmed this Sunday having captured President Alpha Condé, conquered the capital Conakry and “dissolved” the institutions, in a military coup that could remove from power a veteran of African politics who was increasingly isolated.
For the moment no deaths are reported during the coup, despite the intense shots that were heard in the morning in the capital of this West African country, which has been going through a serious economic and political crisis for months.
The possible end of more than ten years of Condé’s government It provoked scenes of jubilation in various parts of the capital.
The Secretary General of the UN, Antonio Guterres, condemned “firmly” the apparent coup in Guinea and called on officials who claim to have seized power and dissolved the government to release the 83-year-old president.
The capital, Conakry. AP Photo
“We decided, after arresting the president, who is currently with us (…) suppress the Constitution in force, dissolve the institutions and also the government, as well as the closure of land and air borders, “said one of the coup leaders in a statement that circulated on social networks.
Reporting the “mess” Government, the head of the special forces, Lieutenant-Colonel Mamady Dumbuya, wrapped in the Guinean flag, later reiterated this statement on national television.
The coup plotters released a video of President Condé under arrest. They ask him if he has been mistreated and Condé, dressed with jeans and shirt, sitting on a sofa, refuses to answer.
“We have everything Conakry and we are working with all the defense and security forces to put an end to the Guinean disease once and for all, “Lieutenant Colonel Dumbuya, a previously unknown personality, told France 24 television.
For its part, the Defense Ministry said in a statement that the presidential guard repelled the “insurgents” when they tried to take over the presidential palace. But after that communication, the authorities fell silent.
Hundreds of Conakry residents, mostly in opposition-friendly suburbs, they took to the streets to cheer the soldiers, confirmed AFP journalists.
“We are proud of the special forces, shame to the militia of former president Alpha Condé, death to the torturers and murderers of our youth,” exclaimed a protester on condition of anonymity.
A military vehicle in the capital. Reuters photo
“We are going to rewrite a Constitution together, this time, all of Guinea, “said the coup leader.
“We no longer need to rape Guinea, we need to make love to her simply, “he concluded.
The main opposition leaders, contacted by AFP, they 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 a third term for Condé, said he took note of “the arrest of the dictator” and the statements of the military on the Constitution.
Early in the morning gunfights resounded with automatic weapons in the Kalum neighborhood, the nerve center of Conakry, where the presidency, institutions and business offices are based.
“I saw a column of military vehicles aboard which very agitated soldiers were firing into the air and chanting military slogans,” a resident of the Tombo neighborhood, near the center, told AFP.
A Western diplomat told AFP that “I had no doubt” as for a coup attempt was taking place, led by the Guinean special forces.
For months, this West African country, one of the poorest in the world despite its considerable mineral and water resources, lives a deep political and economic crisis, aggravated by the covid-19 pandemic.
Condé, former historical opponent, imprisoned and even sentenced to death, became the first democratically elected president in 2010 after decades of authoritarian regimes.
But human rights defenders denounce an authoritarian drift in the last years of his presidency and they question the achievements of the beginning.
Your candidacy for a third term, October 18, 2020, caused months of tensions, with dozens of deaths.
Condé, 83, was finally proclaimed president for a third term on November 7, despite the fact that several candidates denounced irregularities of all kinds.