A source told DW that the president has been detained by special forces in a coup attempt. Groups of civilians took to the streets of Conakry to celebrate the apparent military takeover.
Gunfire rang out near the presidential palace in the Guinean capital of Conakry amid reports of an army coup on Sunday, witnesses told Reuters and several other news agencies. At least two people were injured from the violence.
What do we know so far?
The shots were fired in the Kaloum peninsula area of the capital, which is home not only to the presidential palace, but other government institutions and ministries.
A source in the presidential palace told DW that the president was detained by special forces. Yet, the source added that the soldiers staging the coup are only a small group, with the rest of the army staying loyal to President Alpha Conde.
The Guinean armed forces have sealed off Conakry’s Kaloum neighborhood after the gunfire
Troops were deployed to the streets in response to the incident, with the military blocking access from the mainland to Kaloum. Guinean President Conde was reportedly unharmed by the gunfire, but his exact whereabouts are still unclear.
Local residents say they have been asked by soldiers to stay in their homes, according to news agency AFP.
What does the government say?
Guinea’s defense ministry claimed in a statement that the presidential guard and security forces “had contained the threat and repelled the group of assailants.”
“Security and sweeping operations are continuing to restore order and peace,” the statement said.
On the other hand, videos circulating on social media appear to show the president having been detained by the army in an apparent coup attempt.
The UN has called for Conde’s release and criticized the “takeover” by force in Guinea.
Guinea coup leader says president ‘taken’, constitution ‘dissolved’
What do the putschists say?
While the situation remains unclear, a group of soldiers claims the president has been arrested and the Guinean government has been dissolved.
A Guinean army colonel draped in a national flag said in a broadcast on state television that the country’s borders have been closed and that a transitional government will soon be formed.
“The personalization of political life is over. We will no longer entrust politics to one man. We will entrust it to the people,” Colonel Mamadi Doumboya said in the broadcast.
How are Guineans responding?
Videos from Conakry showed groups of people celebrating in the streets following the reports of Alpha Conde’s ouster.
A woman told DW she was very happy about the takeover because of the dismal situation in the country.
“The people suffered so much — there is no water, there is no electricity, there are even no streets! No streets in Guinea, that is ridiculous! We are all tired of it.”
Others, however, told our correspondent Bangaly Conde they were “disappointed” by the military allowing the president to be captured by a single special forces unit.
“It’s like we don’t even have an army!” a man told DW.
Images and videos of the president being held captive have been circulating online since early Sunday, but the public in Guinea did not take them seriously, said DW correspondent Bangaly Conde.
“A special forces member approached [the president] in one of those videos and asked ‘Were you tortured during the arrest?’ He asked several questions. But the president did not answer.”
The apparent coup leader Mamadi Doumboya posted a video address on Facebook, but this too failed to draw much attention until the soldiers took control of the national television and used it to address the nation later in the day. DW NEWS