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Apparent coup in Guinea: army officer says President Alpha Conde was arrested

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(CNN) – A Guinean army officer issued a statement Sunday announcing that the African country’s constitution had been dissolved in an apparent coup.

“We will no longer entrust politics to a man. We will entrust it to the people. We come only for that; it is the duty of a soldier to save the country,” says Mamady Doumbouya, an officer in the Guinean army, in the video.

An adviser to President Alpha Conde told CNN that Conde is under arrest and that a coup has occurred in the West African country.

The location of the 83-year-old, who won a hotly contested election last year, is unclear.

In the video, Doumbouya, in a special forces uniform, says that they arrested Conde and suspended the constitution, the government and all other institutions. He also announced the closure of land and air borders. The video has been widely disseminated and reported by local media.

Curfew

In a later update that was broadcast on state television, army officials declared a nationwide curfew and said Conde was unharmed.

“We want to reassure the national and international community, the physical and moral integrity of the former president (Alpha Conde) is not threatened,” said a military official, according to a translation published by Reuters. “We take all necessary steps so that you have access to medical care and are in contact with your doctors.”

No clear evidence of Conde’s condition was provided and CNN has not been able to verify the military officer’s claims.

Officers went on to say that a nationwide curfew had been declared. “The curfew is implemented from 8 pm, throughout the country, and this until further notice,” said an official, reading a statement.

The officials also invited outgoing ministers and former heads of institution to a meeting at 11 am on Monday.

“Any lack of assistance will be considered a rebellion against the CNRD,” they said, referring to the group’s name, which in French means National Committee for Rally and Development.

‘Sustained shots’

Gunfire erupted in Conakry, the capital of Guinea, on Sunday in what appeared to be a coup attempt, according to multiple social media posts and witnesses who spoke to CNN.

Heavily armed soldiers were present in the Kaloum area of ​​Conakry, the site of many government buildings, according to videos shared on social media.

A widely circulated video appeared to show Conde surrounded by Guinean soldiers.

Early in the day the British embassy in Conakry He warned that there were “sustained gunfire at various locations in Conakry” and asked people to remain vigilant and avoid moving.

“It is time for us to understand each other, to join hands, to sit down, to write a constitution that adapts to our realities, capable of solving our problems,” Doumbouya said in the video.

Another video circulating on social media showed some Guineans cheering on military vehicles and waving flags in the capital.

Guinea

(Photo by CELLOU BINANI / AFP via Getty Images)

CNN has not independently verified the authenticity of the videos.

International condemnation

The US State Department has warned that the apparent coup could hamper the support of Guinea’s international partners.

“Violence and any extra-constitutional measures will only erode Guinea’s prospects for peace, stability and prosperity,” the department said in a statement Sunday. “These actions could limit the ability of the United States and Guinea’s other international partners to support the country on its path to national unity and a brighter future for the Guinean people.”

In a statement released on Sunday, the African Union (AU) condemned what it called a “seizure of power.”

AU President HE Felix Tshisekedi and AU Commission President HE Moussa Faki Mahamat called for the “immediate release of President Alpha Conde,” according to the statement.

United Nations Secretary General Antonio Guterres also called for Conde’s release, as reports of the apparent coup unfolded.

“Personally, I am closely monitoring the situation in Guinea. I strongly condemn any takeover of the government by force of arms and call for the immediate release of President Alpha Conde”, Guterres said in a tweet on Sunday.

Conde won the presidency in 2010, taking control of a military junta that had been in power since 2008. The 2010 presidential elections were the first in the 52-year history of the republic.

The apparent coup attempt in Guinea follows a successful coup in Mali in August 2020, when the military ousted the elected government.

CNN’s Saskya Vandoorne, Sharif Paget, and Susannah Cullinane contributed to this report.

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