GUINEA – Suddenly thrown into full light. Sunday, September 5, a man who until then evolved in the shadows found himself in the foreground in Guinea and beyond: Mamady Doumbouya. A colossus who is the face of the putschists authors of a coup against President Alpha Condé and which promise to establish a true democracy.
A man whose portrait gets precise hour by hour. A soldier trained at the French school, he became the armed wing of an increasingly powerful anti-terrorist force in Guinea and is therefore today at the head of a change that the population demanded. since the second re-election of Alpha Condé end of 2020.
Yet Mamady Doumbouya was close to, or at least a loyalist to, the deposed president and one of the country’s main military figures. In October 2018, on the occasion of the sixtieth anniversary of the independence of Guinea, he appeared for the first time in the eyes of the general public by proudly parading at the head of his Groupement des forces Spéciales (GFS), the anti-terrorist unit whose creation he had obtained.
An experienced and educated militiaman
It is this elite troop, equipped with modern weapons and knowing the terrain perfectly – in the capital Conakry as elsewhere in the country -, whose men appeared alongside Lieutenant-Colonel Doumbouya, hooded and heavily armed. , during his various speeches following the putsch.
The unit has continued to gain in power in recent months, even to the point of worrying some politicians. Journalist Bangaly Touré, who has met Mamady Doumbouya several times, explained on France 24 that this was particularly the case within the Ministry of Defense.
But the forty-something, married to a Frenchwoman and father of three children according to the local press, does not really resemble the previous authors of coups d’état in this country which has known several. An experienced, operational and educated soldier, Mamady Doumbouya was trained at the Paris War School, before fighting under the colors of the French Foreign Legion, especially in Aghanistan. He has also worked in various theaters of war or in close protection, from Israel to Senegal via Gabon, the Ivory Coast or the Central African Republic.
After this journey, the officer gradually interfered in Guinean power circles from the election of Alpha Condé, who came to power in 2010 following a military coup d’état that took place two years later. early. The lieutenant-colonel thus arrived in the decision-making spheres without having progressed little by little within the hierarchy of the Guinean army, but with expertise and training received abroad, succeeding a coup de force by finally obtaining the creation of its GFS.
The force to establish real democracy
A past which allows it today, after the putsch, to try to distinguish itself from previous military juntas or powers already experienced by the population. This is how he said during his various speeches to answer by popular demand by assuming power. Part of the people have been scolding since Alpha Condé refused at the end of 2020 to leave the presidency as provided for in the Constitution, to offer themselves a third election by means of a referendum.
In an interview with France 24, the broad-bodied soldier, for example, explained that he wanted to organize a transition to real democracy, positioning himself in opposition to the fallen power. “A system that is not inclusive, that does not allow all Guineans to come together, it is a system that will not be able to lead to peace,” he said.
And it is in this sense that it is, according to him, his “duty to save the country and to bring together the Guineans”. An assured and reaffirmed objective of “building the country” unlike the previous leaders. “We are not coming to joke with the power”, proclaimed Mamady Doumbouya, reference in hollow to the military junta which preceded the arrival of Alpha Condé, period during which the power was exerted in Guinea by Dadis Camara, at the same time showman lunar during his televised speeches and violent tyrant capable of bloodily suppressing political opposition.
Holder of a Master 2 in defense and industrial dynamics from the Parisian University of Panthéon-Assas, as reported by AFP, Mamady Doumbouya therefore wanted to mark his difference by evoking Jerry Rawlings, who arrived by force at the head of Ghana in the 1980s after pacifying the country and establishing a sustainable democracy. A man whom the lieutenant-colonel hopes to be a model and from whom he took up this famous phrase: “If the people are crushed by their elites, it is up to the army to give the people their freedom.”
See also on the HuffPost: In Guinea, the putschists say they have captured President Condé