Coup Leader Starts Giving Orders in Guinea

Other nations call on junta to release president
By Bob Cronin,  Newser Staff
Posted Sep 6, 2021 5:25 PM CDT
Coup Leader Replaces Officials in Guinea
Soldiers patrol near the office of the president in Conakry, Guinea, on Sunday.   (AP Photo)

The leader of the military coup in Guinea summoned the ministers from the previous government on Monday and began giving instructions. Col. Mamady Doumbouya, who had been the head of special forces, told the ousted officials to turn over their government vehicles and not leave the country, NPR reports. They were assured that officials who had been removed would not be hunted down. In an address to the nation on Sunday, a Guinean flag over his shoulders, Doumbouya defended the takeover. "Our action is not a coup d'etat," he said, per the Washington Post. "It only reflects the legitimate aspiration of people to want to live in an environment where basic human needs can be met."

Developments included:

  • An assault on the palace. Soldiers poured into the capital of Conakry on Sunday, blocking roads and advancing to the presidential palace, where heavy gunfire was reported. The troops seized President Alpha Condé. Heavy gunfire near the presidential palace was reported, though no information on casualties was released. Condé, 83, was democratically elected 11 years ago, the first such transfer of power since Guinea achieved independence in 1958. Condé had forced through a constitutional change in 2020 allowing him to serve a third term.
  • A national address. In his speech, Doumbouya leveled accusations against Condé and his government, including "the trampling of citizens' rights, the disrespect for democratic principles, the outrageous politicization of public administration, financial mismanagement, poverty, and endemic corruption." From now on, Doumbouya said: "We will no longer entrust politics to one man. We will entrust it to the people."

  • The consolidation of power. The National Assembly and the constitution have been dissolved, per the AP. Regional military commanders replaced governors on Monday. Doumbouya said a new government would be formed soon but didn't say when.
  • Foreign reaction. UN Secretary-General António Guterres called for the release of Condé, as did most nations and organizations, including the African Union. "I strongly condemn any takeover of the government by force of the gun," Guterres said in a tweet. France called for "a return to constitutional order," and the European Union asked the junta to show "respect for the rule of law." The US said the takeover "could limit the ability of the United States and Guinea's other international partners to support the country."
  • Fallout concerns. A stable Guinea is important to West Africa, a region already subject to attacks by Islamist militants and public health crises, per the Post. It's important to the global economy, too; though not many in Guinea have shared in the profits, the country is awash in deposits of deposits of bauxite, iron ore, gold, and diamonds, per the Wall Street Journal. Bauxite is a key source of aluminum, and a supply chain problem would have a large effect on commodities prices. Doumbouya told the mining companies the national curfew won't apply to them and suggested they not interrupt their operations.
(More Guinea stories.)

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