Military take-over in Guinea Conakry after heavy gunfire

Reuters: Sierra Leone Telegraph: 5 September 2021:

Special forces soldiers apparently ousted Guinea’s long-serving President Alpha Conde today Sunday, telling the West African nation they had dissolved its government and constitution and closed its land and air borders.

As the United Nations and Nigeria, the region’s dominant power, condemned any takeover by force, the elite army unit’s head, Mamady Doumbouya, said “poverty and endemic corruption” had driven his forces to remove Conde from office.

“We have dissolved government and institutions,” Doumbouya said on state television, draped in Guinea’s national flag and surrounded by eight other armed soldiers. “We are going to rewrite a constitution together.”

Gunfire erupted and fighting broke out near the presidential palace in the capital, Conakry, on Sunday morning. Hours later, videos shared on social media, which Reuters could not immediately authenticate, showed Conde in a room surrounded by army special forces.

Conde, whose whereabouts were not clear, won a third term in October after changing the constitution to allow him to stand again.

That led to violent protests from the opposition, and in recent weeks the government has sharply increased taxes to replenish state coffers and raised the price of fuel by 20%, causing widespread frustration.

By Sunday evening it was not clear if Doumbouya had seized total control, with the defence ministry having issued a statement saying an attack on the presidential palace had been repelled.

But United Nations Secretary General Antonio Guterres said he strongly condemned “any takeover of the government by force” and called for Conde’s immediate release.

Nigeria’s foreign ministry said Guinea’s “apparent coup d’etat” violated Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) rules, and called for the restitution of constitutional order.

Videos shared on social media had earlier shown military vehicles patrolling Conakry, and one military source said the only bridge connecting the mainland to the Kaloum neighbourhood, where the palace and most government ministries are located, had been sealed off.

THE RICH WERE TAUNTING US’

In the capital, residents began venturing back onto the streets during the afternoon to celebrate the uprising’s apparent success.

A Reuters witness saw pick-up trucks and military vehicles accompanied by motorcyclists honking their horns and cheering onlookers. “Guinea is free! Bravo,” a woman shouted from her balcony.

Alexis Arieff, at the United States Congressional Research Service, said that, while mutinies and coups were nothing new in West Africa, the region had seen “major democratic backsliding” in recent years.

Both Conde and Ivory Coast’s leader have moved the legislative goalposts to extend the clock on their presidencies in the past year, while Mali has experienced two military coups and Chad one.

Guinea has seen sustained economic growth during Conde’s decade in power thanks to its bauxite, iron ore, gold and diamond wealth.

But few of its citizens have seen the benefits, and critics say his government has used restrictive criminal laws to discourage dissent, while ethnic divisions and endemic graft have sharpened political rivalries.

“While the president was proclaiming everywhere that he wanted to govern differently by annihilating corruption, the embezzlement of public funds increased. The new rich were taunting us,” Alassane Diallo, a resident of Conakry, told Reuters.

“It is all this that made it easier for the military.”

Reporting for Reuters: Saliou Samb, Bate Felix, David Lewis and Camillus Eboh Writing by Hereward Holland and John Stonestreet Editing by Frances Kerry and John Stonestreet.

 

7 Comments

  1. Thanks for asking Mr Hassan Timbo, where were this miltray men and police officers that have finally kicked Alpha Conde out? When every passing day of his hold on to power was reminiscent to a dictatorship on steroids. Today this same security forces are standing idealy by, whilst the people of Guinea both young, and old are jubilating in the streets of Conakry at the down fall of an other African big man. What a difference 72 hours can make in politics. It would have been unthinkable, even if this jubilating crowads were intoxicated, or over dose in happy pills, or consume in anger over the direction of travel of Guinea’s political mishaps under Conde, to have come out in large numbers in the streets of Conakry, demonstrating about any thing or everything. Some of this peoples would have ended up dead, or hospitalise with gun shots wounds just exircising their rights to peaceful protest.

    The reaction of the armed Guinean security forces looking at the demonstration with out taking any actions and sometimes demonstrators taking selfies with this armed officers, makes you wonder why are they not turning their guns on the people? Because the orders they got from the new military leaders is not to shoot first and ask questions later . Which we have always been spoon fed that the demonstrators provoke the police. As it happens in Makeni. Now we know when it suits their agendas, governments of any colour, military or civilian can allow a peaceful protest to take place with out killing their fellow citizens. Indeed this former French foreign legionnaires Lt Col. Mamady Dounbouya today’s coup leader made his name some years ago when some disgruntled soliders in the Kindia military barracks went on the rampage. Their mutiny was put down by no other than by Lt. Col Dounbouya. His reputation was displayed by the cruelty he showed by kicking the bodies of some of those dead soldiers. Fast forward to today, you get the idea why he was the only person that would have pull this one off.

    His devotion to Alpha Conde, a fellow Malenke was uncompromising. But their was an invisible RED LINE that Conde was not allow to cross it he did by cutting the military budget. Because Alpha Conde for all his failures, thinks he will take on the world. Picking a fight with Bio,of all people by making wide allegations about elections interference in Guinea, by our vice President Julldeh Jalloh, and in effect closing both the borders in the North, in the Falaba region, and threatened to post Guinean soldiers to occupy Yenga in the South. We can clearly see why Alpha Conde deserves to be removed from office.And quiet frankly tried for crimes committed against his own people. He was not only a threat to Guinean people, but a threat to Sierra Leonean sovereignty. He was way out of his depth for a man that claimed to be educated. When you hear the phrase “Power corrupts Power corrupts absolutely” Alpha Conde is a living example. For me the icing of the cake is to see him tried and if found quilty send to prison. Right now is the only place that befit him.

  2. Alpha Condé had it coming. He is supposed to be a well educated man but lacks common sense,and his understanding of history is at best tenuous. Did he forget what happened in Sierra Leone when Momoh was swept out of power, an extension of Siaka Stevens? Did he forget what happened to Laurent Gbagbo in Ivory Coast? Did he forget what happened to Yahya Jammeh in Gambia? What about what happened to Robert Mugabe in Zimbabwe? What all these leaders had in common was that they overstayed their welcome, and our own Momoh even ended up in Conakry for a while ,in the arms of Lansana Conte’, Condé’s predecessor.

    Power seems to dull the senses of African leaders; their grab for power is infinite, and normally leads them to grief and humiliation. In some cases some of them become persona non grata in their own country. Earnest Koroma nearly fell under this spell, but was quick witted enough to understand the folly of it ,with his “after you nar you “notion.

    The significant similarity between what has happened to Alpha Condé and that which befell Momoh in 1992 is the reaction of ordinary people: They came out to support the soldiers just like the people of Freetown did when the boys in military uniform entered Freetown to put an end to the decades old APC grip on power in 1992. Bio should take time off from his global escapades to reflect on this. The 2023 elections should be free and fair. By the end of this year, campaigning should be allowed to begin ,

  3. Professor Alpha Conde’ was born on 4 March 1938 in Boke in Lower Guinea. His parents were from Buckina Faso. At age 15,he left for France for university studies. Professor Conde was a Guinean politician who was President of Guinea from December 2010 to September 2021. He spent decades in opposition to succession of regimes. After completion of his 2nd term in office,he decided to change the constitution of the country to suit his convenience by manipulating the Judiciary to be on his side. This angered a lot of people including members of the opposition. However, the stage managed and manipulated referendum for the change of the constitution went as planned. This gave him the mandate to run for a 3rd term.

    The 3rd term resulted to a lot of ugly things in Guinea that did not favor the people and the military. At last,on the early hours of September 5 his trusted special forces led by Col Mamady Dumbouya ousted him from power. Since yesterday a lot of condemnation has been made against the coupist to return the country into constitutional order. Where were they when these ugly things were happening in Guinea?

    Why didn’t they condemn the killings? Why didn’t they condemn Alpha Conde’ for manipulating the constitution to suit his convenience? Professor Alpha Conde has been a modern dictator of the 21st century.

  4. First Mali, then Chad, again Mali, and now Guinea. Where next? So, who said military coups in West and Central Africa were a thing of the past? If indeed they were, they are now back, with a vengeance! And Alpha Condé had it coming. In power since 2010, he has over the years undergone a radical transformation: from being a consequential opposition leader against successive tyrannical regimes in Guinea to becoming for all intents and purposes a tyrant himself, subverting along the way his country’s democratic institutions and processes to grant himself a third-term presidency. Now the chickens have come home to roost. He has played with fire, hubristically thinking he is Guinea’s political destiny, and has got duly burned.

    What Condé’s political demise should teach us is that so long as our civilian rulers keep bending our young and fragile democracies to their insatiable will to govern indefinitely, power-hungry and gun-toting men in uniform will always capitalise and unceremoniously give them the sack. Of course, in the early days of their seizing power, the ambitious uniformed gunmen will make the right noises, parading as genuine patriots and saviours, motivated solely, they would have us believe, by the need to free their countries from the corrupt, undemocratic rule of their civilian predecessors. They will vow among other things to improve the lot of ordinary men and women. Above all, if put under immense pressure by regional and subregional bodies and the international community more generally, they will promise to restore constitutional rule at a specific point in the very near future.

    But as we all know, such promises more often than not mean nothing. No sooner the uniformed gunmen begin enjoying the hitherto unimaginable riches and privileges that power brings than they, fickle-minded, start to renege on those early promises. Inevitably, they will become as corrupt, if not more, as the civilians they toppled. Further shifting their positions, they will in turn manipulate for their own ends the democratic institutions and processes they came to save, sometimes going as far as swapping their military robes for civilian ones in order to remain in power, laying the groundwork as it were for future putsches.

  5. So if anyone was admiring this old man for his seeking successful” THIRD TERM”, now this the result. All third term Presidents in Africa continent right now are in worries. But I’m still waiting for comments before I started saying something. All these regional blocks, UN and the others just condemning think you that they will or gonna do something? you put your face in front of (AK 47, or M16 rifle),hmmmm, salam alaikum konta. They all tried of the old man.

  6. “Let’s not destroy the good in us by cowardly submitting ourselves to the evil that is in society”. We are the world and therefore, we need to make it comfortable for our human existence. Those days are going to come when we Africans (especially the sub-saharan region) will begin to see these as obsolete to modern civilization. The major reasons behind all this is due to lack of education of the majority of our population and being divided by religious beliefs and ideals. Our lifestyles, beliefs and cultural practices within the sub-saharan region is heterogeneous and therefore we should be ready to expect a lot of unusual things. God help us all, Amen.

  7. The chickens have finally come home to roost for former Guinean wannabe dictator Apha Conde. After annoying everyone one around him, last week he finally asked his rubber stamp parliament to vote to increase the wages of his ministers, whilst simultaneously cutting the wages of the military. Talk of cutting the hand that feeds you, in his case cutting the salaries of the men in military fatigue,that protects him, will only mean one thing for his doomed presidency, that was stolen from the opposition in last December presidential election for which he ran for the third term instead of bowing out after his second term have ended in 2020.lt.col Mamady Dounbouya says it all. Power doesn’t belong to one man but to the people. And for Fulani people that makes up majority of the population, and has been at the receiving end of his eratic behaviour, in the boader line of absurdity, Alpha Conde was for some, was becoming Sekue Turay point 02.And no one wants a repeat of those years of absolute dictatorship.

    His hatred for Fulanis extended to our own vice president Julldeh Jalloh. Hence picking a figth with Sierra Leone over the Yenga issue that was already resolved and forgotten by the Enerst Bai Koroma government. During his term in office Apha Conde have managed to upset everyone, crucially made enemies outside of Guinea. Sierra Leone, Senegal Guinea Bissau and finally Macron of France. Senegal and Guinea Bissau have long closed their borders even before the coup. Although there is no suggestion France helped this fomer French legionnaires soldier Lt Col. Mamady Dounbouya in ousting Apha Conde, if France as the former colonial power wanted to stop the coup, since there are thousands of French troops stations across the boader in Mali,a friendly Alpha Conde would have picked up the phone and ask Macron for help. I don’t think the French president, never mind our own vice president Julldeh Jalloh and in extention Bio, who was increasingly getting exacerbated with the antics of Aplha Conde, will be privately shedding crocodile tears for his ouster. Or loosing their sleep and wondering what happened to the former President. He deserved every thing he gets.

    If the soldiers turn their guns on him like they did with thousands of peaceful protesting Guinean youths during his time in office so be it . Many families are still mourning their loved ones. With no way of getting answers as to why they were murdered by the security forces. Today every one is rejoicing. So is majority of Guineans, especially the Instagram generations out in the street celebrating his down fall. Those who live by the sword will die by tbe sword. This is a bitter sweet moment for all the families tbat lost their loved ones at the hands of Alpha Conde’s out of control security forces. Now finally he is testing his own bitter pill. Enjoy your excellency, whilst you are slumped in sofa guarded by your own men that were supposed to protect you. That the feeling and fear you sowed in your security forces. And is what ordinary Guineans have been going through for the last eleven years of your out of control dictatorship.

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