DEVELOPING NEWS. UPDATES EXPECTED
Guinea Conakry’s dictator, Alpha Condé, was ousted this morning in a coup led by a top military officer who later announced on national television the dissolution of the constitution and the Condé government.
Residents of the Guinean capital, Conakry, were woken up a few hours ago, around 8 a.m. local time by “extremely loud,” sustained gunfire, one of The African Magazine’s correspondents in the West African region told our newsroom minutes ago. We immediately reached out to several residents who said they had seen military vehicles in the vicinity of the presidential palace. We spoke by phone to an African diplomat posted in Conakry—who spoke to us on condition of anonymity—and confirmed the breaking news. At first, he wasn’t sure it was a coup, describing the situation rather as an insurrection. He likened it to the failed previous attempts to oust the president.
However, appearing barely an hour later on national television, the leader of the national army unit, Col. Mamady Doumbouya, draped in the country’s flag and surrounded by several soldiers, announced the ousting of Condé, to put an end to the instrumentalization of justice, the harsh economic situation and other woes endured by the population. He announced the upcoming of formation of a transitional government, promising more details later. Vowing to restore democracy, the coup leader said: “The duty of a soldier is to save the country. The personalisation of political life is over. We will no longer entrust politics to one man, we will entrust it to the people.”
Reacting to the insurrection, Conde’s defense minister said the coup attempt had been foiled. In its 4 p.m. UT news broadcast, Radio France International confirmed the coup, adding, however, that it wasn’t clear if the rest of the army will follow Col. Doumbouya. A video circulating on the social media showed the deposed Guinean dictator sitting on a couch, being asked by someone whether he had been roughed up, to which the strongman did not respond. The French radio also said that Condé’s doctor stated that the president was in good health.
The West African diplomat reached by The African said this coup “must keep the likes of Condé up at night. They abound in West Africa.”
Alpha Condé, 83, was elected president of Guinea in 2010. A leader of the opposition who had run against the country’s then-military dictator Lansana Conté, Condé was imprisoned sentenced to death by Conté. Condé won reelection in 2015, and did what’s common in the region: he changed the constitution to stand again in 2020 to serve a third term. He won amid widespread frauds. A strongman like so many in the region, Condé spared no action to harass critics of his corrupt and incompetent administration. He did not hesitate to publicly hit Guinea’s leading clerical leader in the face in public in a mosque in Conakry.