Military colonel says authorities has been disbanded: NPR
Witnesses report that heavy shots broke out for hours near the Presidential Palace in Guinea’s capital. It was not immediately known whether President Alpha Conde, seen above in August 2019, was home at the time of the shooting. Eric Gaillard / AP Hide caption
Eric Gaillard / AP
Eric Gaillard / AP
CONAKRY, Guinea (AP) – A Colonel in the Guinean Army took control of state television on Sunday, declaring that President Alpha Conde’s government would be dissolved and the borders of the West African nation closed, an announcement made after hours of heavy gunfire near the president came palace.
The dramatic developments on Sunday bore all the hallmarks of a West African coup. After the insurgent soldiers took over the radio, they swore to restore democracy and gave themselves a name: the National Committee for Assembly and Development.
Conde’s whereabouts were initially unknown. Colonel Mamadi Doumbouya, speaking to the nation, made no mention of the 83-year-old president, whose popularity has plummeted since he ran for a third term last year.
“The personalization of political life is over. We will no longer entrust politics to a man, we will entrust it to the people,” said Doumbouya. The constitution will also be dissolved and the borders will be closed for a week.
Doumbouya, who heads a special military unit, said he was acting in the best interests of the nation with more than 12.7 million people.
“A soldier’s duty is to save the country,” he said.
In the vicinity of the presidential palace in the capital Conakry, heavy shots broke out early on Sunday, which lasted for hours and feared an attempted coup. The Department of Defense later claimed the attack had been repulsed, but uncertainty grew when there was no sign of Conde on state television or radio.
Conde has faced increasing criticism since he ran for a third term last year and said the two-term limit did not apply to him because of a constitutional referendum he held.
He was eventually re-elected, but the move resulted in violent street demonstrations in which dozens were killed, according to the opposition.
Conde came to power in 2010 in the country’s first democratic elections since independence from France in 1958. Many saw his presidency as a new beginning for the country, which has been shaped by decades of corrupt, authoritarian rule.
However, opponents say he has failed to improve the lives of Guineans, most of whom live in poverty despite the country’s vast natural resources.
In 2011, he barely survived an assassination attempt after gunmen surrounded his home overnight and bombed his bedroom with rockets. Rocket propelled grenades landed on the site and one of his bodyguards was killed.