In Guinea, there is a lot of confusion about a possible coup d’état. Special forces say in a video that they have imprisoned President Alpha Condé and that they are dismantling the institutions. However, the Ministry of Defense assures that the attack on the presidency was repelled.
However, the military coup plotters have imposed curfews across the country “until further notice”. That was announced on Sunday evening in a statement that was read on national television.
“The curfew will go into effect from 8 p.m. across the entire territory until further notice,” the military announced. They did ask the officials to go to work on Monday.
It was the second time the coup plotters appeared on television Sunday. This time, the group of officers were dressed in uniform and beret and carried no visible weapons. In the first appearance, the military still wore combat gear and helmets.
“Now that the president is in our power, we have decided to dissolve the constitution in force, dismantle the government and close the land and air borders,” one of the putschists in uniform announced. Images indeed show President Condé. They ask him if he has been mistreated, but he refuses to answer.
The Ministry of Defense states in a press release that the “rebels have sown fear”. “However, the Presidential Guard was aware of the threat and managed to push back the group of attackers.”
However, special forces officers announced Sunday evening that governors and high officials in the regions would be replaced by military personnel. The coup leaders further announced that the outgoing ministers and presidents of the institutions would be convened at a meeting in the capital, Conakry, on Monday.
The coup leaders made it clear that the outgoing ministers and presidents of the institutions will be convoyed at a meeting in Conakry on Monday at 11 a.m. local time. “Any refusal to appear will be considered rebellion” against the committee the coup leaders set up to run the country, the announcement stressed.
Heavy gunfire from automatic weapons could be heard in the center of capital Conakry on Sunday morning. Several witnesses said that a lot of soldiers could be seen near the palace and some government buildings. Tanks and heavily armed pickup trucks also passed by. Foreign embassies advised against going into the streets.
President Condé was sworn in for his third term in December after amending constitutions that stipulated two terms in office. He promised then to fight corruption in his country. Since coming to power in 2010, he is said to have allowed the growing opposition to be increasingly suppressed.
Condé survived an attack in 2011 in which two bodyguards were killed, a sign that the transition to democracy is shaky. After all, there had also been a coup in the former French colony in 2008.
UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres has condemned “any takeover of the government by gun violence” in Guinea. He also called for the immediate release of President Condé.
Meanwhile, France has also condemned “the attempted seizure of power”. The former colonial power is calling on the military to release President Condé “immediately and without conditions,” according to a communication from the Foreign Ministry in Paris.
In addition, Paris has joined the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) call to condemn the attempted seizure of power by force and call for a return to constitutional order.