Africa News

Guinea president Alpha Conde detained in apparent military takeover

An army vehicle is seen at Kaloum neighbourhood during an uprising by special forces in Conakry, Guinea September 5, 2021. REUTERS/Saliou Samb

CONAKRY, GUINEA: Turmoil engulfed the impoverished west African nation of Guinea again on Sunday as army putschists said they had captured the president and staged a coup, and the government insisted it has repelled the attack. 

“We have decided, after having taken the president, to dissolve the constitution,” said a uniformed officer flanked by soldiers toting assault rifles in a video sent to AFP.

The officer also said that Guinea’s land and air borders have been shut and the government dissolved.

But the situation remained unclear as Conde’s government also released a statement saying that an attack on the presidential palace by special forces had been “repulsed”.  

According to AFP news, gunfire rang out near the presidential palace in the Guinean capital of Conakry amid rumors of an army coup on Sunday, witnesses told Reuters and several other news agencies. At least two people were injured from the violence.

The shots were fired in the Kaloum peninsula area of the capital, which is home not only to the presidential palace, but other government institutions and ministries.

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Troops were deployed to the streets in response to the incident, with the military blocking access from the mainland to Kaloum. Guinean President Alpha Conde was reportedly unharmed by the gunfire, but his exact whereabouts are still unclear.

Local residents say they have been asked by soldiers to stay in their homes, according to news agency AFP.

Guinea’s defense ministry claimed in a statement that the presidential guard and security forces “had contained the threat and repelled the group of assailants.”

“Security and sweeping operations are continuing to restore order and peace,” the statement said.

On the other hand, videos circulating on social media appear to show the president having been detained by the army in an apparent coup attempt. Army putschists claim the president has been arrested and the Guinean government has been dissolved, but the situation is still unclear.

Conde assumed office in 2010 after the country’s first-ever democratic elections. He survived an assassination attempt in 2011.

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Conde won a third term last year in the 2020 presidential election. His win came after he rammed through constitutional changes allowing him to sidestep the country’s limit of two presidential terms.

The opposition claimed last year’s election was fraudulent, with dozens of people subsequently killed in anti-government protests.

Additional reporting by  (DW, AFP, AP, Reuters)

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