After a controversial election: attempted coup in Guinea

Status: 05.09.2021 5:40 p.m.

First long exchanges of fire could be heard in Guinea’s capital Conakry, then a colonel reported on state television: The government had been deposed. This in turn says that an attack on the presidential palace has been repulsed.

There has been an attempted coup in West African Guinea – whether it succeeded is an open question. On state television, the commander of a special unit of the military, Colonel Mamadi Doumbouya, announced the dismissal of the government. A transitional government should be formed. The constitution is invalid and the country’s borders are closed for a week.

The Ministry of Defense, however, said that the attack by the elite unit on the presidential palace in the capital Conakry had been repulsed.

Gun exchanges and patrols

Previously, there had been long exchanges of fire in the city near the presidential palace. Many soldiers could be seen on the streets. The whereabouts of President Alpha Condé is unclear. In a video leaked to the AFP news agency, the coup plotters claimed they had captured the president.

On state television, Colonel Doumbouya only announced that the “personalization of political life” was over. “We will no longer entrust politics to a man, but to the people.” He added that he was acting in the best interests of the country and promised to restore democracy. The rebelling soldiers called themselves the National Committee for Assembly and Development.

President Condé came to power in Guinea in 2010.

Image: AP

Controversial presidential election

Condé had passed a constitutional amendment last year that allowed him a third term. In October, according to official information, the now 83-year-old emerged victorious from the violent, controversial election, which in turn led to mass protests. Many people died in clashes with the security forces.

Condé had come to power in 2010 – in the country’s first democratic elections since independence from France in 1958. Many saw his presidency as a new beginning for the country that had suffered for decades from corrupt, authoritarian rule.

However, his critics said he had failed to improve the lives of the people of Guinea, most of whom live in poverty despite the country’s vast natural resources. As early as 2011, the president barely survived an attack after gunmen had surrounded his house overnight and shot his bedroom with rockets. One of his bodyguards was killed in the process.

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