Gunshots were heard in the district of Kaloum in Conakry, the capital of Guinea. Since 8 am, clashes have pitted the army and the presidential guard against the Special Forces Group.
[Update Sunday September 5th at 13:10 pm]
It was a chaotic Sunday that started in Guinea. Barely returned from his trip to Germany, President Alpha Condé was reportedly targeted by an attempted coup. The gunfire started in the Makambo camp in Kaloum, in the capital, Conakry. An hour later, clashes continued around the presidential palace, as well as in the compound of Radio-Television de Guinée (RTG).
A military source told Reuters that the only bridge connecting the neighborhood to the rest of the capital has been cordoned off by many soldiers. The district of Kaloum, birthplace of Sekouba Konaté is a real fortress. It houses most of the ministries, the presidential palace and two military barracks, among others.
A senior government official said that President Alpha Condé was safe and sound. In Guinea, sources suggest a mutiny within the army, while the option of an attempted coup d'etat is increasingly likely. The Minister of Security and Civil Protection, Damantang Albert Camara, was escorted by the police to reach the presidential palace. “All the streets have been deserted, while heavy gunfire continues. The soldiers, visibly dissatisfied, empty the magazines of their weapons, while the inhabitants of Kaloum remain holed up, terrorized and worried, ”indicates the local press. Later, we learn that the coup has been consumed, and that President Alpha Condé has been arrested.
Mamady Doumbouya's GPS behind the coup
According to a source close to the palace, the Special Forces Group (GPS) carried out the operation against Alpha Condé. Weakened since his election for an unconstitutional third term, the president of Guinea is widely contested in the street. An attempted coup d'etat would therefore be a perfect pretext for the Guinean president continues his repression, while social and political movements multiply.
According to some media, Sunday's attack was therefore carried out by the Special Forces Group (GPS). The elite unit, led by Colonel Mamady Doumbouya, has recently increased Alpha Condé's mistrust of it. Doumbouya's desire to free the GPS from control by military authorities sparked rumors about his arrest last June. But he was actually still free.
In a speech, Mamady Doumbouya announces the dissolution of the Constitution, institutions and government, as well as the closure of borders. He calls on his “brothers in arms” to “stay in the barracks and continue their sovereign activities”.
In 2011, Guinea experienced another coup attempt. During a night attack on his residence, only a member of the president's close guard was killed, before the army put a stop to this attempt. However, today's events are very different. The attack comes a week after parliament voted a budget increase for the presidency and parliamentarians, but a substantial decrease for those working in security services like the police and the military.
#Guinea : urgent ! President Alpha Condé arrested by a junta led by Col. Mamady Doumbouya. He thus becomes the new strongman of Guinea Conakry. He announces the suspension of the constitution and the closure of the borders pic.twitter.com/aNVBXOrMmc
- Sega DIARRAH (@segadiarrah) September 5, 2021
In another recently published video, we see President Alpha Condé, completely nonchalant, surrounded by members of the special forces who say they have not harmed him. But the head of state today seems indeed a prisoner of the GPS.
- Farah (@farah_elmne) September 5, 2021
Alpha Condé facing the consequences of his governance
Alpha Condé has gritted his teeth in recent months, when the context is not favorable to him, in particular because of the inflation induced by the IMF recovery plan. The image of the president continues to deteriorate. The rise in fuel prices and the collapse of purchasing power have caused dozens of movements.
On the opposition side, the contestation of the results of the September 2020 election led to a broad campaign of repression against the most popular politicians. If the rival of Alpha Condé, Cellou Dalein Diallo, remains at liberty, this is not the case of the more radical opponents. In fact, last January, Mamady Condé was arrested, barely a week after the death of Mamadou Oury Barry in prison. A member of the UFDG, the main opposition party, Roger Bamba, also died in detention in December 2020. According to Human Rights Watch, hundreds of opponents languish in Guinean prisons.
Colonel Mamady Doumbouya, former legionnaire of the French army and head of the Special Forces Group (GPS) is said to be at the base of the coup attempt against the Alpha Condé regime #Guinea pic.twitter.com/R3W1qRcMME
- Ayoblogger4.0 (@autruicomoi) September 5, 2021