Confusion as mutinous Guinean soldiers allegedly arrest Condé, lay claim to political leadership
UN, Nigeria kick, demand restoration of constitutional order
Guinean Special Forces, yesterday, reportedly arrested President Alpha Condé, as Colonel Mahamady Doumbouya claimed the headship of a certain National Rally and Development Council (CNRD).
The development was contained in a broadcast aired on state TV.
Uncertainty gripped the West African nation amid reports of heavy gunfire around the presidential palace in the capital, Conakry.
In a short broadcast, soldiers, who staged an uprising, said they have dissolved the constitution and the government in the country.
However, the defence ministry said an attack on the presidential palace by mutinous forces had been contained.
Gunshots had broken out near the seat of power, with several sources saying an elite national army unit, led by a former French legionnaire, Mahamady Doumbouya, was behind the unrest.
An unidentified soldier, draped in the nation’s flag and surrounded by eight other officers, said they planned to form a transitional government and would give further details later.
The defence ministry insisted that the attempted mutiny had been foiled.
“The presidential guard, supported by the loyalist and republican defence and security forces, contained the threat and repelled the group of assailants.
“Security and combing operations are continuing to restore order and peace,” it said in a statement.
Earlier, videos shared on social media showed military vehicles patrolling streets in the capital, with a military source saying the only bridge connecting the mainland to the Kaloum neighbourhood that houses the palace and most government ministries, had been sealed.
Many soldiers, some heavily armed, were posted around the palace, the source added.
Three witnesses told Reuters that they saw two civilians with gunshot wounds.
“I see groups of soldiers heading towards the presidency. There has been a lot of shooting,” a resident of Kaloum, Ousmane Camara, said.
A Reuters reporter confirmed seeing two convoys of armoured vehicles and pick-up trucks heading towards Conakry Autonomous Port, also near the palace, adding that the motorcade was accompanied by a white van suspected to be an ambulance.
Condé won a controversial third term last October after altering the constitution to allow him stand for the poll despite violent protests from the opposition.
The move had raised concerns of a backslide in a region that has seen coups in Mali and Chad in recent months.
“President Condé is doing extremely well. The situation is under control,” an ally said.
IN the meantime, Nigeria has deplored the putsch, which it observed contravened the ECOWAS Protocol on Democracy and Good Governance.
In a statement issued yesterday by spokesperson to the Minister of Foreign Affairs, Mrs. Esther Sunsuwa, the Federal Government stated: “We strongly condemn and reject any unconstitutional change of government and therefore call on those behind this coup to restore constitutional order without delay and protect life and property.”
ALSO, the United Nations Secretary General, Antonio Guterres demanded immediate restoration of democratically elected government in Guinea and Condé’s release.
In a tweet, he submitted: “I am personally following the situation in Guinea very closely.”
Similarly, human rights activist, Shehu Sani, described the incident as a “military coup against the people.”