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Guinea President overthrown by military coup

Alpha Conde, the President of Guinea, has been overthrown in a military coup. Heavy gunfire was heard on Sunday morning at the Presidential Palace in Guinea’s capital, Conakry.

The military in Guinea has announced a nationwide curfew ‘until further notice’ as well as the replacement of governors by the military.

Despite a number of schools closed in the country, the Guinean capital saw comparative calm on Monday morning, a day after soldiers dissolved the government in a swift coup.

Light traffic resumed, and some shops reopened around the main administrative district of Kaloum in Conakry, which witnessed heavy gunfire throughout Sunday.

Later on, the head of Guinea’s military special forces, Lieutenant-Colonel Mamady Doumbouya, appeared on public television draped in the national flag, citing government ‘mismanagement’ as a reason behind his actions.

‘We are no longer going to entrust politics to one man, we are going to entrust politics to the people,’ the coup leader said. ‘Guinea is beautiful. We don’t need to rape Guinea anymore, we just need to make love to her,’ Doumbouya added.


Elections marred by violence

The most recent presidential poll in New Guinea in October 2020 was violently disputed and marred by accusations of electoral fraud.

Conde won a controversial third term in that poll, but only after pushing through a new constitution in March 2020 that allowed him to sidestep the country’s two-term limit.

Dozens of people were killed during demonstrations against a third term for the president, many in clashes with security forces. Hundreds were also arrested.

Conde was then proclaimed president on November 7 last year, despite his main challenger Cellou Dalein Diallo – as well as other opposition figures – calling the election a sham.

After the poll, the government launched a crackdown and arrested several prominent opposition members for their alleged role in abetting electoral violence in the country.

A former opposition leader himself who was at one point imprisoned and sentenced to death, Conde, became Guinea’s first democratically-elected leader in 2010 and won re-election in 2015.

Hopes of a new political dawn in the former French colony have withered, however, and he has been accused of drifting into authoritarianism.


International heads concerns

UN Secretary-General, Antonio Guterres, condemned Sunday’s apparent coup in Guinea and urged putschists to release the country’s detained president.

‘I am 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,’ Guterres tweeted.

The US Department of State issued a statement. Part of it read, ‘…violence and any extra-constitutional measures will only scatter Guinea’s prospect for peace, stability and prosperity.’

Regional bodies like the ECOWAS and West African economic bloc condemned the coup and ordered for the immediate release of the President.

 

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