By Hajira Khota
The African Union criticised a military coup in Guinea and demanded President Alpha Conde’s immediate release. In a joint statement, AU Chairman and DRC President Felix Tshisekedi and AU Commission Head Moussa Faki Mahamat called for an urgent meeting of the body’s Peace and Security Council to assess the situation and take appropriate measures.
On Sunday, Special Forces soldiers reportedly deposed long-serving President Conde, claiming to have dissolved Guinea’s government and constitution as well as closed the country’s land and air borders.
While the United Nations and Nigeria, the region’s leading power, opposed any takeover by force, Mamady Doumbouya, the chief of the special army unit, said his soldiers were prompted to remove Conde from office by “poor and rampant corruption.”
Gunfire erupted, and fighting erupted near the presidential palace in Conakry, the capital. Conde was seen in a room surrounded by special forces in videos uploaded on social media hours later, which Reuters could not immediately verify.
All land and air borders had been closed for a week, according to those behind the coup.
According to the US, violence and extra-constitutional actions will only weaken Guinea’s prospects for peace, stability, and prosperity.
Conde was elected to a third term as president in a tumultuous election last October. He ran after a new constitution passed in March 2020, allowing him to avoid the country’s two-term limit and sparking significant protests.
During demonstrations, dozens of people were killed, often in fights with security forces. Hundreds of people were also detained.
Despite charges of electoral fraud from his primary challenger Cellou Dalein Diallo and other opposition figures, Conde, 83, was named president on November 7 last year.
Due to its bauxite, iron ore, gold, and diamond wealth, Guinea has had consistent economic growth during Conde’s decade in power, but few of its population have reaped the advantages.
The African Union and UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres have criticised the attempted coup and demanded President Condé’s immediate release. Guinea, a West African country rich in natural resources, is one of the world’s poorest countries due to years of conflict and mismanagement.