Military coup in Guinea; the whereabouts of President Condé are unknown

Reuters, Ap and Afp

La Jornada newspaper
Monday, September 6, 2021, p. 27

Conakry. Officials of the elite forces of Guinea affirmed yesterday that they had captured President Alpha Condé, conquered the capital Conakry, dissolved the institutions and the Constitution, and closed land and air borders, in a military coup against the 83-year-old president, whose whereabouts are unknown.

Last night it was not clear if Doumbouya had full control, as the Defense Ministry said in a statement that an attack on the presidential palace was repelled.

Hours later, the coup leaders imposed a curfew from 8 pm until further notice and the replacement of regional governors and prefects by the military.

The head of the army’s elite unit, Mamady Doumbouya, said poverty and endemic corruption led his forces to oust Condé, while the United Nations, the African Union, and Nigeria, the region’s dominant power , they condemned the coup.

We have dissolved the government and the institutions, said Doumbouya on state television, draped in the Guinean national flag and surrounded by eight armed soldiers. We are going to rewrite a Constitution together.

Yesterday morning there was shooting and fighting near the presidential palace in Conakry. Hours later, videos shared on social media, which Reuters could not immediately verify, showed Condé in a room surrounded by army special forces.

Condé, whose whereabouts were unknown at press time, won a third term in October after changing the Constitution to run for president again.

That sparked violent protests from the opposition. The dramatic events of yesterday highlighted growing discontent among the army.

In recent weeks the government sharply raised taxes to replenish the state coffers and raised the price of fuel by 20 percent.

The coup leaders called today to a meeting the outgoing ministers and the presidents of the institutions. Any refusal to appear will be considered a rebellion, they warned.

Videos shared on social media showed military vehicles patrolling Conakry and a military source reported that the only bridge connecting the mainland with the Kaloum neighborhood, where the palace and most of the government ministries are located, was closed.

Guinea has had a long history of political instability since independence from France in 1958. In 1984, Lansana Conte took control of the country after the death of the first post-independence leader. He remained in power for a quarter of a century until his death in 2009.

A second strike soon followed, leaving Army Captain Moussa Dadis Camara in charge. He later went into exile after surviving an assassination attempt, and a transitional government later staged the historic 2010 elections won by Condé.

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