An attempted coup d’état against the Guinean government sparked shootings near the presidential palace in the capital, Conakry, on Sunday (5).
President Alpha Condé’s whereabouts remain unknown after videos posted on social media show him surrounded by military personnel. There is still no confirmation of the authenticity of the images.
In a statement on state TV, soldiers behind the mutiny said they had seized power and dissolved the African country’s constitution.
“We dissolve the government and the institutions,” said Mamady Doumbouya, commander of an elite army group, in the statement. “We will rewrite the Constitution together.”
For its part, the Ministry of Defense said in a statement that the security forces contained the insurgency.
“The insurgents spread fear [em Conacri]”, the note reads. “The presidential guard, supported by loyal and republican defense and security forces, contained the threat and repelled the attacking group.”
The secretary general of the UN (United Nations), António Guterres, criticized the attempted coup. “I firmly condemn any seizure of power [na Guiné] by the force of the rifle and I ask for the immediate release of President Alpha Condé,” he said on a social network.
Nigeria’s chancellery said the “apparent coup d’etat” violates the rules of the Economic Community of West African States (Ecowas) and called for the restoration of constitutional order.
Condé came to power in 2010, becoming the country’s first democratically elected president. He was re-elected for a third term in October of last year after abolishing the constitutional limit of two terms, in an election marred by violent protests and accusations of fraud.
The Covid-19 pandemic aggravated the economic crisis and political instability in Guinea. According to official data sent to the WHO (World Health Organization), the country has registered nearly 30,000 cases and 341 deaths from the disease since the beginning of the pandemic.
Guinea has about 12.4 million inhabitants. The country was a colony of France and became independent in 1958.