Lt. Col. Mamady Doumbouya, Commander of Guinea’s elite Special Military Forces, has appeared on state television, flanked by his colleagues, to announce the apparent overthrow of President Alpha Conde, whose third-term ambitions sparked national division, violence, and killings during the previous contentious presidential election last October.
Since 2010, Conde, 83, has ruled Guinea with an iron fist.
The former French colony in West Africa is rich in valuable mineral resources such as bauxite, gold, diamonds, and iron ore, but the prosperity has not benefited Guineans.
Conde’s rule has been in disarray since he forced his way into amending the national Constitution to allow him to run for three terms.
It adds to the military return to power in the insecurity- wracked West Africa and Sahel regions, following the recent ignoble examples of Mali and Chad. There has also been a coup attempt in Niger.
It is unclear where Conde is being held and the security situation in Guinea remains uncertain.
Footages trending on social media show Conde in apparent captivity by those who were supposed to be protecting him.
The broadcast by Lt. Boumbouya followed heavy gunfire around the Presidential Palace in the Kaloum District of the Guinean capital, Conkry.
France, the former colonial power in Guinea and the regional boc, ECOWAS appear would be watching the unfolding situation with anxiety.
The unsettling development would exacerbate destabilization and insecurity in the troubled West African and Sahel regions, where terrorist jihadist groups have established safe havens despite the presence of the UN’s largest peacekeeping mission, MINUSMA, with 15,000 personnel, and the 5,000-strong French Barkhane forces.