Minggu, 05 September 2021

Army seizes power in Guinea, holds president -

Residents of the capital Conakry's Kaloum district reported hearing heavy gunfire

Guinean special forces seized power in a coup on Sunday, arresting the president and imposing an indefinite curfew in the poor west African country. 

"We have decided, after having taken the president, to dissolve the constitution," said a uniformed officer flanked by soldiers toting assault rifles in a video sent to AFP.

An earlier video sent to AFP by the putschists showed President Alpha Conde sitting on a sofa surrounded by troops. The 83-year-old leader refused to answer a question from one soldier about whether he had been mistreated.

"Any refusal to attend will be considered a rebellion," the statement added. 

For their appearance on state television, members of the junta were wearing berets and dressed in fatiques, with no weapons apparent.

The nation of some 13 million people -- one of the world's poorest countries despite boasting significant mineral resources -- has long been beset by political instability. 

One Western diplomat in Conakry who declined to be named suggested the unrest may have started after the dismissal of a senior commander in the special forces -- provoking some of its highly trained members to rebel. 

The head of Guinea's military special forces, Lieutenant-Colonel Mamady Doumbouya, appeared on public television, draped in the national flag, saying government "mismanagement" prompted the coup.

"Guinea is beautiful. We don't need to rape Guinea anymore, we just need to make love to her," he added.

UN Secretary General Antonio Guterres condemned the coup in a tweet and called for Conde's immediate release.

The Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS), through its acting president, Ghana's leader Nana Akufo-Addo, threatened sanctions if Guinea's constitutional order was not restored.

A French foreign ministry statement also condemned the coup.

The day before the presidential election last year, the military blocked access to Kaloum after an alleged military rebellion east of the capital. 

Doumbouya also told French media "we are holding all of Conakry," and that he had the support of all the defence and security forces. 

"We are proud of the special forces," said one demonstrator who requested anonymity. "Death to the torturers and to the murderers of our youth".

The most recent presidential poll in Guinea, in October 2020, was marred by violence and accusations of electoral fraud.  

Dozens of people were killed during demonstrations against a third term for Conde, often in clashes with security forces. Hundreds more were arrested.

The government cracked down, arresting several prominent opposition members for their alleged role in abetting electoral violence in the country. 

He survived an assassination attempt in 2011. In recent years however, he has been accused of drifting into authoritarianism.


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2021-09-05 21:52:10Z

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