Guinean special forces claimed Sunday (September 5th) to have captured President Alpha Condé and ” dissolve “ institutions, in a video sent to a correspondent for Agence France-Presse (AFP), while the defense ministry assures us that the attackers were “Repulsed”.
“We decided after taking the president, who is currently with us (…), to dissolve the Constitution in force, to dissolve the institutions; we also decided to dissolve the government and to close the land and air borders ”, said one of the putschists in uniform and in arms in this declaration which also circulated widely on social networks but which was not broadcast on national television.
Statement by Lieutenant-Colonel Mamady Doumbouya. He announces the arrest of President Alpha Condé as well as a… https://t.co/wdoh0lrKjo
“The socio-political and economic situation of the country, the dysfunction of the republican institutions, the instrumentalisation of justice, the trampling of the rights of citizens, the disrespect of democratic principles, the excessive politicization of the public administration, the financial mismanagement, poverty and endemic corruption have led the republican army (…) to assume its responsibilities vis-à-vis the sovereign people of Guinea ”, explains this same military official.
“We call on our brothers in arms to unity, in order to meet the legitimate aspirations of the people of Guinea. We also invite them to stay in the barracks and continue their sovereign activities. We are not going to redo the mistakes of the past ”, also warns this soldier.
In another video, not immediately authenticated, we can see putschists with President Condé. They ask him if he has been mistreated, and Alpha Condé, in jeans and a shirt on a sofa, refuses to answer them.
Alpha Condé is currently in the hands of elements of the Groupement des Forces Spéciales de # Guinée. #Kibaro https://t.co/OXyrtAoOZv
For its part, the defense ministry said in a statement that “The insurgents [avaient] sowed fear “ in Conakry before taking the direction of the presidential palace, but that “The presidential guard, supported by the defense and security forces, loyalists and republican, contained the threat and pushed back the group of attackers”.
A Western diplomat told AFP that he had ” no doubt “ on the fact that a coup attempt was underway, led by Guinean special forces.
Heavy automatic weapons fire had resounded a few hours earlier Sunday in central Conakry, in the grip of a serious economic and political crisis for months.
The authorities have remained silent on a very confusing situation, despite the proliferation of rumors. National television broadcast its regular programs at midday.
Residents contacted by phone in Kaloum reported sustained shooting. Speaking on condition of anonymity for their safety, they said they saw many soldiers warning residents to return to their homes and not to leave. The opposition has circulated widely on social networks videos it claims shot by residents stealthily and in which the streets resound with intense gunfire.
???INFO ALERT – A coup attempt is underway this Sunday in Guinea. Heavy shots are audible at… https://t.co/BHSFE3h90W
??? | Potential coup in progress in Guinea-Conakry. Strong military activity in the capital We also report… https://t.co/J6jBoEzPo7
The tensions could have been caused by the dismissal or the attempted arrest or marginalization of the commander of the special forces, a unit with greater means than other security forces and likely to have aroused jealousy, the Western diplomat said. expressing on condition of anonymity, according to established practices in such circumstances. Special forces would then be taken into action, he added.
Months of tension
For months, this West African country among the poorest in the world despite considerable mineral and hydrological resources has been in the grip of a deep political and economic crisis, aggravated by the Covid-19 pandemic. The day before the presidential election of October 18, 2020, the center of Conakry woke up with its accesses blocked by the security forces, while the press reported a mutiny in a military camp in Kindia, hundred kilometers east of the capital.
President Alpha Condé’s candidacy for a third term in October 2020 sparked months of tension that resulted in dozens of deaths in a country customary to bloody political confrontations. The election was preceded and followed by the arrest of dozens of opponents.
Mr. Condé, 83 years old today, was definitively proclaimed president for a third term on November 7, despite the appeals of his main challenger, Cellou Dalein Diallo, and three other candidates who denounced “Ballot box stuffing” and irregularities of all kinds. Human rights defenders criticize an authoritarian drift observed during the last years of the Condé presidency and questioning the achievements of the beginning. The military seized power by force in 2008 after the death of President Lansana Conté.
The protest repressed on several occasions
Mr. Condé, a former historic opponent, imprisoned and even sentenced to death, in 2010 became the first democratically elected president in Guinea after decades of authoritarian regimes. On July 19, 2011, Alpha Condé, elected the previous year, had emerged unscathed from an attack carried out by soldiers on his residence. He had accused several personalities, and implicated Senegal and Gambia, who had denied.
In the eyes of his opponents and many defenders of democracy, he has joined the ranks of African leaders who remain in power beyond the expected term, more and more often by using legal arguments.
Alpha Condé had adopted in March 2020, despite an already strong dispute, a new Constitution for, he said, “Modernize [les] institutions “ and, for example, to give more space to women and young people. The opposition denounced a ” Rebellion “ constitutional. The protest has been harshly repressed on several occasions.
Mr. Condé prides himself on having advanced human rights and having rehabilitated a country he says he found in ruins. He defended himself in October 2020 on Radio France Internationale and France 24 from wanting to establish a “Life presidency”. The new Constitution theoretically allows him to stand again in six years, an eventuality on which he was careful not to comment.