Guinean special forces seized power in a coup on Sunday, arresting the president and imposing an indefinite curfew in the poor west African country. In a video sent to AFP, military officers said: “We have decided, after having taken the president, to dissolve the constitution.” The officer also said that Guinea’s land and air borders had been shut and the government dissolved.
The military of Guinea detained President Alpha Conde on Sunday, September 5, 2021, after hours of heavy fighting between the soldiers and presidential guards.
The country’s borders were closed and its constitution was declared invalid in the announcement read aloud on state television by army Col. Mamadi Doumbouya, who told Guineans: “The duty of a soldier is to save the country.” “We will no longer entrust politics to one man. We will entrust it to the people,” said Doumbouya, draped in a Guinean flag with about a half dozen other soldiers flanked at his side.
An earlier video sent to AFP by the putschists showed President Alpha Conde sitting on a sofa surrounded by troops. The 83-year-old leader refused to answer a question from one soldier about whether he had been mistreated.
Later Sunday the junta announced a nationwide curfew “until further notice”, saying it would convene Conde’s cabinet ministers at 11:00 am (1100 GMT) Monday. “Any refusal to attend will be considered a rebellion,” the statement added. The country’s governors and other top administrators will be replaced by the military, the statement said.
Reasons for Coup
Doumbouya said he was acting in the best interests of the nation, citing a lack of economic progress by leaders since the country gained independence from France in 1958.
“If you see the state of our roads, if you see the state of our hospitals, you realize that after 72 years, it’s time to wake up,” he said. “We have to wake up.” Observers, though say the tensions between Guinea’s president and the army colonel stemmed from a recent proposal to cut some military salaries.
Attempt to modify the constitution is said to be the other reason for the coup. Violent street demonstrations broke out last year after Conde organized a referendum to modify the constitution. The unrest intensified after he won the October election, and the opposition said dozens were killed during the crisis.