Revolution in Guinea ?: UN and EU appalled by possible coup

Revolution in Guinea?
UN and EU appalled at possible coup

The situation is still opaque: The President of Guinea, Condé, is said to have been overthrown. Special forces of the army had “dissolved” the government, it said in a video of the putschists. Other countries are horrified and demand the release of the 83-year-old president.

International criticism of the alleged coup attempt in West African Guinea is growing louder. After UN Secretary General António Guterres had condemned “every takeover of government by force of arms”, the European Union, the African Union, the former colonial power France and Great Britain also publicly expressed criticism. The exact background and circumstances of the turbulent events were not yet unequivocally clarified on Monday night.

According to the British Embassy in Conakry, there had been ongoing exchanges of fire in several locations in the capital over the course of Sunday. Non-verifiable videos initially circulated on social media suggesting that President Alpha Condé had been overthrown. A video with the state broadcaster’s logo featured several men in military uniforms and with the national flag – one of whom claimed the government had been deposed. He also said the constitution has been repealed and the country’s borders are closed. In another video, Condé himself was seen with men in military uniform. The whereabouts of the 83-year-old president was initially unclear.

In power since 2010: President Condé.

(Photo: AP)

The French-language broadcaster TV5 Monde and other media reported that the Guinean Defense Ministry announced on Sunday afternoon that insurgents had been repulsed by the Presidential Guard and other security forces. An eyewitness said the situation was very tense. There were firefights, especially near the presidential palace in the Kaloum district. The military is said to be patrolling the streets of Conakry. In another video published late in the evening, men dressed in military uniforms announced that a curfew should apply from 8 p.m. local time (midnight CET). The government ministers had been ordered by the coup plotters to report on Monday morning 11 a.m. local time (1 p.m. CET), the video said.

Third term thanks to controversial constitutional amendment

UN Secretary General Guterres called on Twitter on Sunday evening for the president to be released immediately. British Ambassador David McIlroy and EU Foreign Affairs Representative Josep Borrell made similar views. Borrell appealed to everyone to act according to the rule of law for the sake of peace and for the good of the Guinean people. The former colonial power France also condemned the attempt to take power by force and demanded a return to constitutional order and the immediate and unconditional release of Condé.

According to media reports, the rebels are led by Mamadi Doumbouya, the commander of a special unit. In another unverified video, he named among other things the instrumentalization of the judiciary, looting of state revenue and corruption in Guinea as reasons for the removal of Condes. Videos circulated on social media in which residents of Conakry cheer and applaud the patrolling soldiers. President Condé came to power in 2010 in the first free democratic election since Guinea’s independence in 1958. Reforms in the economy and in the military are ascribed to him, and after politically turbulent decades he also ensured more stability.

Critics, however, see Condé as an increasingly authoritarian ruler whose term of office was marked by human rights violations. Last year he secured a third term in office after a controversial constitutional amendment. The vote was preceded by months of political tension and violent protests. This Monday, a qualifying game between Morocco and Guinea for the 2022 World Cup should take place in Conakry. Due to the “very volatile” political and security situation, the game had been postponed, FIFA announced on Sunday evening.