Guinean particular forces have seized energy in a coup, arresting the president, and promising to alter the political make-up of the West African nation.
The new navy leaders introduced a nationwide curfew “until further notice”, saying it will convene President Alpha Conde’s cupboard ministers and different senior politicians at 11am (11:00 GMT) on Monday.
“Any refusal to attend will be considered a rebellion,” the commandos stated in a press release.
The nation’s governors and different prime directors might be changed by the navy, it added.
“We have decided, after having taken the president, to dissolve the constitution,” stated a uniformed officer flanked by troopers toting assault rifles in a video despatched to AFP information company on Sunday.
The unidentified officer additionally stated Guinea’s land and air borders had been shut.
In an earlier video, the putschists confirmed President Conde sitting on a settee surrounded by troops. The 83-year-old chief refused to reply a query from one soldier about whether or not he had been mistreated.
The nation of 13 million individuals – one of many world’s poorest nations regardless of boasting vital mineral assets – has lengthy been beset by political instability.
Earlier on Sunday, residents of the capital Conakry’s Kaloum district, the government quarter, reported listening to heavy gunfire.
One Western diplomat in Conakry, who declined to be named, urged the unrest might have began after the dismissal of a senior commander within the particular forces – scary a few of its extremely educated members to insurgent.
The head of Guinea’s navy particular forces, Lieutenant Colonel Mamady Doumbouya, later appeared on public tv, draped within the nationwide flag, saying government “mismanagement” prompted the coup.
“We are no longer going to entrust politics to one man, we are going to entrust politics to the people,” Doumbouya stated. “Guinea is beautiful. We don’t need to rape Guinea any more, we just need to make love to her.”
Youssouf Bah, a journalist primarily based in Conakry, stated members of the particular forces advised him: “This is not a military coup. We are here to free the people.”
Bah famous there have been celebrations among the many individuals in lots of neighbourhoods within the capital, and a noticeable absence of navy patrols on the streets.
“There came a time when Guineans were asking for change, most Guineans asked for change. So this is exactly what has happened,” Bah advised Al Jazeera.
Marie-Roger Biloa, from the Africa International Media Group, stated the safety forces in Guinea have been divided, however the elite forces have been “clearly the one leading the game” now.
The US State Department denounced the coup d’etat and warned it may “limit” Washington’s means to help Guinea.
“The United States condemns today’s events in Conakry,” the State Department stated in a press release.
“These actions could limit the ability of the United States and Guinea’s other international partners to support the country as it navigates a path toward national unity and a brighter future for the Guinean people.”
United Nations Secretary-General Antonio Guterres condemned the takeover in a tweet and known as for Conde’s speedy launch.
The chairman of the African Union, DR Congo President Felix Tshisekedi, and the pinnacle of its government physique, former Chadian Prime Minister Moussa Faki Mahamat, additionally decried the transfer, calling for Conde to be freed.
The Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS), by means of its appearing president, Ghana’s chief Nana Akufo-Addo, threatened sanctions if Guinea’s constitutional order was not restored.
European Union overseas coverage chief Josep Borrell demanded “respect for the state of law, the interests of peace and the wellbeing of the Guinean people”.
A French overseas ministry assertion additionally denounced the coup.
The putsch follows an extended interval of political pressure in Guinea, first spurred by Conde’s extremely contested bid for a 3rd presidential time period final 12 months.
The day earlier than the presidential election final 12 months, the navy blocked entry to Kaloum after an alleged navy riot east of the capital.
‘Death to the torturers’
News of the coup sparked celebrations in some elements of the capital, the place a whole bunch of individuals applauded the troopers.
“We are proud of the special forces,” stated one demonstrator who requested anonymity. “Death to the torturers and to the murderers of our youth.”
The most up-to-date presidential ballot in Guinea, in October 2020, was marred by violence and accusations of electoral fraud.
Conde gained a controversial third time period, however solely after pushing by means of a brand new structure in March 2020 permitting him to sidestep the nation’s two-term restrict.
Dozens of individuals have been killed throughout demonstrations towards a 3rd time period for Conde, typically in clashes with safety forces. Hundreds extra have been arrested.
Conde was proclaimed president on November 7 final 12 months – regardless of his major challenger Cellou Dalein Diallo and different opposition figures denouncing the election as a sham.
The government cracked down, arresting a number of outstanding opposition members for his or her alleged function in abetting electoral violence within the nation.
Conde, a former opposition chief himself who was at one level imprisoned and sentenced to dying, turned Guinea’s first democratically elected chief in 2010, profitable re-election in 2015.
He survived an assassination try in 2011. In latest years, nevertheless, he has been accused of drifting into authoritarianism.