An apparent coup is underway in Guinea, with heavy military presence and gunfire reported in the country’s capital of Conakry. Guinean President Alpha Conde has seemingly been detained by the military.
The ongoing unrest broke out in the capital city on Sunday morning. Local media reported that heavy gunfire was coming from Conakry’s upscale neighborhood of Kaloum, housing the presidential palace and other government buildings.Uncorroborated footage circulating online shows multiple military vehicles and heavily armed soldiers roaming the area.
The gunfire took place at the hotel Kaloum as president Alpha Conde visited the area. #Conakrygunfirepic.twitter.com/lQx9r43Tq2
In another video, purportedly shot on Sunday, gunfire can be heard in the background.
#BREAKING Heavy gunfire in #Guinea capital, near the Presidential palace, the situation is unclear pic.twitter.com/SLch3B7an2
“I see groups of soldiers heading towards the presidency. There has been a lot of shooting,” a Kaloum resident told Reuters. Three other witnesses said they saw at least two civilians injured by gunfire.
The unrest is reportedly led by Lieutenant Colonel Mamady Doumbouya, a former French legionnaire and an elite military unit commander. While multiple pro-government sources told the media that the country’s president was safe, local media reports corroborated by imagery circulating online suggested otherwise.
A video and several photos purport to show Conde detained by heavily armed soldiers and then being driven away to an unspecified location.
COUP D’ETAT EN GUINÉE : les putshistes partagent une vidéo où ils veulent montrer qu’ils ont rien fait au président alpha conde.Moi : LE MANDAT DE TROP ! C’est très laid à voir.#Guineeconakry#kibaro#kaloumpic.twitter.com/q8oAZj3Z9W
BREAKING NEWSKaloum??Conakryhttps://t.co/R3RkoMRDeCHAPPENING;Military Coup led by Lt.Col Mamady Doumbouya at Presidential Palace in Guinea.Incumbent 83 Years old President Alpha Conde who is on a Controversial Third Term has REPORTEDLY been Arrested.#Kibaro#Guinea#Guineepic.twitter.com/Q0G9Pmsegw
As Conde was arrested, the leader of the coup released a brief video address, accusing the president of “trampling” on people’s rights and leading the country’s economy into a state of “dysfunction.” Doumbouya announced the dissolution of the government, as well as the closure of the country’s air and land borders, while proclaiming Guinea’s constitution void.
The latest presidential election, held in October last year, however, was surrounded with much controversy. Longtime leader Comte had changed the country’s constitution before the polls, allowing himself to run for the third time. The election was also marred by violent opposition protests, as well as crackdowns on them by the authorities.
Shortly after the address, however, Guinea’s defense ministry claimed the attack on the mutinous special forces had been successfully repelled and the military loyal to the elected government was working to restore order in the capital. The ministry did not elaborate on the whereabouts of the president, sowing further confusion on who exactly holds power in the country.
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