Guinea coup leaders seet to tighten grip on power


Source: AFP.

A group of soldiers who ousted Guinea’s President Alpha Condé from power on Sunday have ordered the country’s cabinet to attend a mandatory meeting on Monday.

Those who refuse to attend the 11:00 GMT meeting will be considered rebels, a statement on state TV said.

President Condé remains in detention, but his fate is unclear.

The UN, African Union, and regional body Ecowas have condemned the coup and called for a return to civilian rule.

“I strongly condemn any takeover of the government by force of the gun and call for the immediate release of President Alpha Conde,” the UN secretary-general António Guterres tweeted.

After hours of gunfire on Sunday, the streets of the capital, Conakry are reported to be quiet but it remains unclear if the entire military backs the coup.

In a broadcast on state TV on Sunday night, a group of soldiers announced the dissolution of the constitution, the closure of the borders and a nationwide curfew.

They said regional governors had been replaced by military commanders, and the ousted 83-year-old president was safe but in detention.

The head of the country’s special forces, Col Mamady Doumbouya, said his soldiers had seized power because they want to end rampant corruption and mismanagement.

President Condé was re-elected for a controversial third term in office amid violent protests last year.

The veteran opposition leader was first elected in 2010 in the country’s first democratic transfer of power. Despite overseeing some economic progress, he has since been accused of presiding over numerous human rights abuses and harassment of his critics.

Hundreds of residents poured into the streets of Conakry to celebrate the takeover, climbing onto military vehicles to greet soldiers draped with Guinean flags.

Mamoudou Nagnalen Barry, a founding member of the opposition FNDC (National Front for the Defence of the Constitution), told the BBC that he had mixed emotions about the coup, but he mostly welcomed it.

“I will say that I’m sadly happy with what happened,” he said.

“We don’t want to be happy with a coup but in certain circumstances like that one in Guinea now we will say we are really happy with what is happening because without that, the country will be stuck in an endless power of one person who wants to stay in power forever.”

Mr Barry added that he hoped the soldiers will hand power back to civilians.

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