Conakry (AP) – International criticism of the alleged coup attempt in West African Guinea is growing louder.
After UN Secretary General António Guterres condemned “any seizure of power by armed force”, the European Union, the African Union, the former colonial power France and Great Britain also publicly criticized the background and exact circumstances of the eventful events of Sunday. were also on Monday night not allowed beyond any doubt.
Firefight in progress
According to the British embassy in Conakry, there had been an ongoing exchange of fire in several places in the capital during the day on Sunday. Unverifiable videos initially circulated on social media suggesting that President Alpha Condé had been overthrown. A video with the logo of the state television station showed several men in military uniforms and with the national flag – one of whom claimed the government had been deposed. He also said the constitution had been repealed and the country’s borders were closed. In another video, Condé himself was seen with men in military uniform. The fate of the 83-year-old president was initially unclear.
French-language television channel TV5 Monde and other media reported that the Guinean defense ministry announced on Sunday afternoon that the insurgents had been driven back by the Presidential Guard and other security forces.
An eyewitness told the German news agency that the situation was very tense. There was an exchange of fire, in particular near the presidential palace in the district of Kaloum. The army is said to be patrolling the streets of Conakry.
In another video posted late that evening, men dressed in military uniforms announced that a curfew should apply from 8 p.m. local time (midnight CET). Government ministers had been summoned by the coup plotters to show up on Monday morning at 11 a.m. local time (1 p.m. CET), according to the video.
UN Secretary-General Guterres on Twitter demanded the immediate release of the president on Sunday evening. British Ambassador David McIlroy and EU Foreign Affairs Representative Josep Borrell expressed similar views. Borrell called on 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 seize power by force and demanded the 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 cited, among other things, the instrumentalization of justice, the plunder of state revenues and corruption in Guinea as reasons for the dismissal of Condes. Videos circulated on social networks in which the inhabitants of Conakry applaud and applaud the soldiers on patrol.
Controversial President Condé
President Condé came to power in 2010 in the first free and democratic elections since the independence of Guinea in 1958. Reforms in the economy and in the army are attributed to him, and after politically turbulent decades, he has also ensured more stability. Critics see Conde as an increasingly authoritarian leader whose tenure has been marked by human rights violations. Last year he won a third term after a controversial constitutional amendment. The vote was preceded by months of political tension and violent protests.
This Monday, a qualifying match between Morocco and Guinea for the 2022 World Cup is expected to take place in Conakry. Due to the “very volatile” political and security situation, the match had been postponed, FIFA announced on Sunday evening.