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Sep 5, 2021
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“The situation is very difficult”: what is known about the attempted coup in Guinea

In the course of short-term clashes, rebels led by special forces colonel Mamadi Dumbuya seized power in Guinea, local media reported. Earlier, troops entered the capital of the country to blockade the government quarter. As a result, the president of the republic, Alfa Conde, was allegedly detained by the rioters. In his address to the citizens of Dumbui, he said that the government had been overthrown in the country, and the Constitution had lost its force. The colonel explained that the poverty of the population and the overwhelming level of corruption pushed the military into a coup d’etat. Meanwhile, analysts note that the reasons for the current events in Guinea could be the internal policy of the authorities, as well as economic difficulties.

The leader of the rebels in Guinea, Colonel Mamadi Dumbuya, in his address to citizens, which was broadcast by local TV channels, announced the overthrow of the supreme power in the country. The officer announced the arrest of President Alpha Conde, the dissolution of the government, the abolition of the current Constitution and the closure of the borders of the republic.

“Guineans, the social, political and economic situation in the country was so difficult that the military decided to take responsibility for the future of Guinea,” Dumbuya said.

The colonel announced that he took over as the leader of the National Committee for Cohesion and Development (CNRD), which aims to unite the people of Guinea to solve the problems facing the state.

According to Dumbuy, the guinean army was prompted by the usurpation of power, ineffective financial management, poor health facilities, poverty and widespread corruption. He added that in the near future, the rebels will launch a peaceful process of transforming the political system. Also, Guinea will maintain its obligations to international organizations.

The UN has already reacted to the events in Guinea. On his Twitter page, the organization’s secretary general, Antonio Guterres, described the incident as an armed seizure of power and called for the immediate release of Conde.

Video footage appeared on the network, which captured Conde surrounded by armed people in camouflage. According to the video, the President of Guinea was not injured during the arrest. In addition, Dumbuya said that the head of state is safe and is not in danger.

Troop entry and shooting

The circumstances of the coup d’état in Guinea, during which the country’s leadership was removed, are still unknown. Mass media report that many security officials have taken to the streets of Conakry, the capital of the republic. The servicemen urged local residents not to leave their homes. Eyewitnesses report hearing the sounds of gunfire.

Columns of armored vehicles and vehicles filled with soldiers were seen in Conakry, according to Reuters.

According to the Ministry of Defense of Guinea, the putschists attacked the presidential palace, entering into confrontation with the guards of Condé and the soldiers of the defense and security forces. At the same time, the military department said that the attack was allegedly successfully repelled.

  • Guinean Armed Forces
  • AFP
  • © CELLOU BINANI

Currently, the military has partially blocked access to the capital by road. The Russian Embassy in Conakry on its Twitter page urged Russians in Guinea not to leave their place of residence and posted telephone numbers for communication in an emergency.

With reference to sources, Guineenews and Reuters report that the organizer of the coup was an army special forces unit commanded by Dumbuya. Previously, the colonel was a member of the French Foreign Legion.

As reported on the eve of the Africa Guinee portal, on September 4, the authorities decided to significantly raise the salaries of officials, in particular, employees of the presidential administration, despite the difficult socio-economic situation in the country.

Guinea is a small agricultural country in western Africa with a population of over 12 million people. According to official data, high inflation is observed in the republic. At the same time, the level of income of the population is low – as of 2019, 43.7% of the country’s citizens lived below the poverty line. Guinea is also one of the outsiders in the global ranking on the human development index.

“The special role of security officials”

In an interview with RT, military translator and Africanist Andrei Esipov called the events in Conakry “a classic coup d’etat.” According to him, in the history of Africa there were many precedents when the military removed the civilian government and took power into their own hands.

“Africa is characterized by extremely unstable usurpatory regimes and a special role of the security forces, who believe that they can interfere in the work of civil authorities and overthrow them, as well as redraw the legislation,” Yesipov said.

At the same time, according to the expert, the situation in countries where military coups take place does not improve afterwards. Often, the military seizes power only in order to “redistribute financial flows”, despite the declaration of “good ideas”, Yesipov explained.

“If earlier in Africa there was at least a visible confrontation of ideas, in particular, capitalism and socialism, now there are not even specific slogans and reform programs. All this looks cynical and does not lead to an improvement in people’s lives, ”Yesipov said.

  • President Alpha Condé
  • Reuters
  • © Philip Voyazer

At the same time, as the specialist suggests, the Guinean military could not ignore the increase in the salaries of officials close to the president. This, from his point of view, could be the reason for a rapid coup.

In an interview with RT, Abdelkerim Yakub Kundugumi, a researcher at the Paris Institute for Advanced Study and Security, also stressed that the military coup in Guinea was in no small measure provoked by the policies of Condé himself.

“One should be surprised not that the coup was a success, but that all this lasted so long, right up to the present day. The situation is very difficult. Alpha Conde tried to impose his will by force, and he created such political tension in the country that, unfortunately, such a scenario was quite expected, ”says Kundugumi.

As the French political scientist explained, Condé was a rather tough leader.

“Due to the tensions caused by the amendments to the Constitution and the violent rise to power during the elections, the legitimacy of Alfa Conde is now being challenged literally in everything,” says Yakub Kundugumi.

In turn, the director of the International Institute of the Newest States, Alexei Martynov, suggested that the main reason for the military coup in Guinea was the economic difficulties caused by the coronavirus pandemic. Also, the expert did not rule out the likelihood of external interference.

“Of course, the economic crisis, provoked in many ways by a pandemic, always serves as a trigger for such events. And in poor countries like Guinea, things are already very bad. But along with this, the colonial era has not finally receded into the past. Big players are almost always behind such events in Africa, ”Martynov summed up.

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