Monday, January 24

A group of soldiers staged a coup in Guinea-Conakry and detained the president | International

A group of soldiers led by Lieutenant Colonel Mamady Doumbouya, head of the Guinea-Conakry Special Forces, has staged a coup in this African country this Sunday and has detained and transferred the country’s president, Alpha Condé, to an unknown location. . In a video message addressed to the nation through social networks, Doumbouya himself has announced the suspension of the Constitution, the dissolution of the institutions and the Government and the closure of land and air borders. The Ministry of Defense of Guinea assured in a statement that the putsch The military had not been successful, a version that was deflated with the passing of the hours. Throughout the morning, Conakry, the capital, was the scene of an exchange of gunfire amid a large presence of soldiers in the streets, according to residents.

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Guineans and Guineans, dear compatriots. The country’s socio-political and economic situation, the dysfunction of republican institutions, the instrumentalization of justice, (…) the lack of respect for democratic principles, the politicization of the public administration (…), endemic poverty and corruption have led the Republican Army of Guinea (…) to assume its responsibility towards the sovereign people of Guinea as a whole. After having arrested the president, who is with us right now, we have decided to dissolve the current Constitution, dissolve the institutions and the Government and the closure of the land and air borders, ”said Lieutenant Colonel Doumbouya in a video recorded in a place unknown and distributed to the media this Sunday morning.

“We call our brothers in arms to unity to respond to the legitimate aspirations of the people of Guinea, we invite them to stay in their barracks and continue their activities, let’s not make the mistakes of the past,” added the coup leader who later came, surrounded of his men, to a study of the Guinean Radio Television (RTG) and, with a flag on his shoulders, he sent similar messages. The coup leaders also released a video and photographs in which President Alpha Condé can be seen barefoot and dressed in jeans and a shirt and surrounded by soldiers. Dejected, the leader looks at the camera and does not respond to the questions and comments of his captors, in a sequence that is very reminiscent of the arrest of Laurent Gbagbo in Ivory Coast in 2011.

Lieutenant Colonel Mamady Doumbouya, who is emerging as a new Guinean strongman at the head of a military junta dubbed the National Committee for Reunification and Development (CNRD), is a seasoned military man who received training in Israel, Senegal, Liberia and France. . A former member of the French Legion, he participated in different missions in Afghanistan, Ivory Coast, Djibouti and the Central African Republic, among other countries. In 2018 he was commissioned by the Ministry of Defense to create a group of Special Forces within the Guinean Army, which he has led since then. However, his attempt to function autonomously and without accountability to the Administration distanced him from the Government, according to anonymous military sources.

The Secretary General of the United Nations, Antonio Guterres, firmly condemned the coup, which he called “seizure of power by force of the rifle” on his Twitter profile, and demanded the immediate release of Condé. For its part, the opposition National Front for Democracy in Guinea (FNDG) said in a statement that it was taking minutes of the suspension of the Constitution. “The regime led by the dictator Alpha Condé was illegitimate and unconstitutional,” says the note. In many streets of Conakry, as happened with the 2020 coup in Mali, the military were received amid expressions of joy by a part of the citizenry.

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Alpha Condé, 83, has been President of Guinea since 2010 and was elected to a third term in October 2020 after a controversial election in which dozens of deaths were killed in clashes between citizens and the forces of order. The Guinean Magna Carta establishes a limit of two terms, but the constitutional reform promoted by the Condé himself allowed him to run for reelection, a common subterfuge for many regional leaders to perpetuate themselves in power. The main opposition leader, Cellou Dallein Diallo, rejected both his candidacy and the results, prompting citizen protests and dozens of deaths.

With some 13 million inhabitants and despite its many mineral and natural resources, Guinea remains one of the poorest countries in the world. Since its independence from France in 1958, it has known a succession of dictatorships and coups d’état that seemed to come to an end with the coming to power of the historic and veteran opposition leader Alpha Condé in his first free elections, held in 2010.

Optimism about the arrival of democracy in Guinea translated into years of sustained economic growth with percentages of up to 7% per year thanks to a better business climate and diversification of foreign investment. However, these figures did not translate into improvements in the quality of life for most of the population: the rate of people below the poverty line continues to be around 50%. The economic crisis derived from the 2014-2016 Ebola epidemic was a severe blow, to which we must now add the impact of the Covid-19 pandemic.

But it is the political situation that concentrates much of the attention in Guinea. Condé’s attempts to remain in power at all costs and the establishment of a regime that harasses opponents and critical voices, according to human rights NGOs, have contributed to plunge the country back into instability. The mixture of the economic situation and the political turmoil is at the origin that Guinea heads the lists of countries of origin of irregular emigration to Europe, as happened in 2018, and also to Spain, especially on the dangerous route of the cayucos that flows into the Canary Islands.

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