Guinean Special forces seized power in a coup, arrested the president, and promised to bring changes in the political makeup of the West African country.
The new military leaders announced a nationwide curfew “until further notice”, stating it would convene President Alpha Conde’s cabinet ministers and other senior politicians on Monday.
“Any refusal to attend will be considered a rebellion,” the commandos warned in a statement. Uneasy calm returned to the streets of Guinea’s capital Conakry on Monday, as its citizens awaited the announcement of a new government.
Light traffic resumed and some shops reopened around the main administrative district of Kaloum in the capital Conakry, which witnessed heavy gunfire throughout Sunday as the special forces battled soldiers loyal to Conde.
In a video, the putschists showed Conde sitting on a sofa surrounded by troops. The 83-year-old leader refused to answer a question from one soldier about whether he had been mistreated.
The nation of 13 million people – one of the world’s poorest countries despite boasting significant mineral resources – has long been witnessing political instability.
One Western diplomat in Conakry, who declined preferred to remain anonymous, suggested the unrest may have started after the dismissal of a senior commander in the special forces – provoking some of its highly trained members to rebel. The head of Guinea’s military special forces, Lieutenant-Colonel Mamady Doumbouya – a former French foreign legionnaire officer – later appeared on public television, draped in the national flag, saying government “mismanagement” prompted the coup.