Most time in Africa, a general or a colonel is leading a coup, but this time, it is a Lieutenant-Colonel Mamady Doumbouya who has just declared not on national television but in a video that they have taken power in Guinea Conakry.
This Sunday, September 5, 2021, a coup led by a former French legionnaire overthrows Alpha Condé in Guinea. Who is Mamady Doumbouya, the former French legionnaire who overthrew President Alpha Condé?
Lieutenant-Colonel Mamady Doumbouya is the commander of the Special Forces Group (GPS) of Guinea. The Lieutenant-Colonel who claims to have taken power in Guinea went to Senegal to attend the training course for unit commanders at the School of Application of the Infantry (EAI).
From the French Army Legion to the Guinean GPS
He was recalled to Guinea in 2018 to head the elite corps created in 2018: the Special Forces Group (GPS). He was a legionnaire of the French army that he left to answer the call of the country.
According to the head of the Directorate of Information and Public Relations of the Guinean Army (DIRPA/Guinea) during the Independence Day of Guinea in 2018, Commander Mamady Doumbouya, at the head of these hooded uniformed men “can identify and defuse risky situations by remaining calm in the face of a hostile environment and extreme pressure. He adapts and improvises to any situation that requires self-control, risk assessment and rapid decision-making,” says Aladji Cellou.
Military background and international operations
He is a certified officer of the War College, with more than fifteen years of military experience, including operational missions (Afghanistan, Ivory Coast, Djibouti, Central African Republic) and close protection (Israel, Cyprus, United Kingdom, Guinea).
According to the Guinean press, Major Mamady Doumbouya has successfully completed the Operational Protection Specialist Training at the International Security Academy (Israel), the Unit Commanders Training Course at the Ecole d’application de l’infanterie (EAI – Senegal), the Staff Officer Training Course (EEML Libreville) and the Ecole de Guerre de Paris.
But his setbacks with Conakry began in October 2018 with his desire to empower the GPS from the Ministry of Defense. This had aroused mistrust of the power of Conakry. In May, unfounded rumors of his possible arrest had even circulated in the Guinean capital.
A “product” of Alpha Condé
Currently a lieutenant colonel, Mamady Doumbouya is originally from the region of Kankan, the second-largest city in the Republic of Guinea, after the capital Conakry, and the largest in terms of surface.
This red beret is a Malinke, a West African people present mainly in Guinea, Mali, Senegal, Gambia, Ivory Coast and Burkina Faso.
Mamady Doumbouya has been the head of the Groupement des forces spéciales (GPS), an extremely trained and equipped elite army unit, since 2018.
Political tension persists
Guinea has been in the grip of a deep political and economic crisis for months. President Alpha Conde’s candidacy for a third term on October 18, 2020, led to months of tension before and after the election, resulting in dozens of deaths in a country accustomed to bloody political confrontations. The election was preceded and followed by the arrest of dozens of opponents.
Human rights activists criticize the authoritarian drift of the last few years of the Conde presidency, which has undermined the gains of the early years. Mr Conde, 83, prides himself on advancing human rights and turning around a country he says he found in ruins.