GUINEA COUP D'ETAT

Guinean army says it has toppled President Alpha Condé, dissolved the constitution

Members of Guinea's armed forces celebrate after the arrest of Guinea's president, Alpha Conde, in a coup d'etat in Conakry on September 5, 2021.
Members of Guinea's armed forces celebrate after the arrest of Guinea's president, Alpha Conde, in a coup d'etat in Conakry on September 5, 2021. AFP - CELLOU BINANI

A military junta in Guinea appears to have ousted long-serving president Alpha Condé, with special forces soldiers telling the nation they had dissolved the government and constitution, and closed the country’s land and air borders.

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The elite unit, who detained Condé on Sunday morning after hours of heavy gunfire in the capital, said regional governors were replaced by military commanders.

Guinean government officials are barred from travel until further notice, and must hand over their official vehicles to the military, according to special forces commander Mamady Doumbouya.

They added that Condé was not harmed, his wellbeing was guaranteed and he was being given access to his doctors.

"We have dissolved government and institutions," the unit's head, Mamady Doumbouya – a former French foreign legionnaire – told state television, surrounded by eight other armed soldiers. 

"We are going to rewrite a constitution together."

Draped in the national flag, Doumbouya said that “poverty and endemic corruption" had driven his forces to remove the president from office.

Reports said that outgoing ministers and heads of institutions were invited to a meeting on Monday morning in parliament.

"Any failure to attend will be considered as a rebellion against the CNRD," the group said referring to its chosen name, the National Rally and Development Committee.

Denials

However the Guinean Ministry of Defence said it had repelled an attack by special forces against the presidency, despite the release of a video showing Condé in the hands of military.

In the video, which has been circulated on social networks, Condé can be seen with his shirt open, sitting on the couch in a presidential lounge.

A military officer addresses him as his "excellency" and asks him to say whether he has been harmed. Condé does not answer.

Condemnation

France condemned the coup and called for the "the immediate and unconditional release” of Condé in a Foreign Ministry statement Sunday evening.

In a twitter post, UN Secretary General Antonio Guterres said he was "personally following" the situation in Guinea very closely.

"I strongly condemn any takeover of the government by force of the gun and call for the immediate release of President Alpha Conde."

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