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Guinea army coup “ousts” Alpha Conde

An apparent insurrection by special forces in Guinea Conakry appears to have succeeded in ousting President Alpha Conde, bringing eleven…

An apparent insurrection by special forces in Guinea Conakry appears to have succeeded in ousting President Alpha Conde, bringing eleven years of his rule to an abrupt end.Photos have been widely circulated of a dishevelled, forlorn-looking Conde accompanied by heavily armed soldiers lodged in a military vehicle as he was transported to a military barracks in Conakry.

The 82-year old won a contentious third term on 18 October last year after tinkering with Guinea’s constitution to allow him to contest the presidency beyond the stipulated two five-year terms.

A group of Special Forces breached the security at the presidential palace in central Conakry during the wee hours of Sunday, overcoming the presidential guards before seizing Conde.

Images of a captured Conde did not suggest he has been put under strain or physically harmed.

The putschists declared a state of emergency and suspended the country’s constitution until further notice.  

However, the fluidity of the situation appears confusing after the emergence of a statement by the Interior ministry claimed “life in Conakry is normal” but stopped short of stating who was in control of the mineral-rich West African country.

Conakry on Sunday appeared like a ghost town as civilians heeded stay-at-home calls by the coupists and tanks rolled into positions ostensibly to protect key government institutions including the national radio station.

Soldiers have been patrolling districts of the Guinean capital in a bid to maintain normality, sources close to the putschists say.

At least three soldiers have reportedly died after a barrage of machine gun fire at the Sekoutoureya presidential palace woke up Conakry residents early on Sunday morning.

The coup comes against the searing backdrop of months of post-electoral violence blamed for the deaths of at least 200 alleged supporters of opposition leader Cellou Dalien Diallo.

83-year old President Condé, who was re-elected for a third term in controversial fashion in 2020 is being detained by personnel of Guinean Special Forces, (GPS), an elite unit led by Colonel Mamady Doumbouya, who is of Malinke ethnic extraction.

Doumbouya was recently appointed at the head of the GPS which was created in 2018.

This is not the first time that Conde has been targeted by an attempted coup. 

Ten years ago, his home was attacked by rebel soldiers.

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