Guinean forces announce detention of president, dissolution of gov't

Baku, September 6, AZERTAC

Guinea’s president was detained Sunday by soldiers led by an army colonel, who announced the move on state television, Anadolu Agency reports.

Addressing the nation on public broadcaster RTG, Col. Mamadi Doumbouya said President Alpha Conde is safe and in custody.

“We have taken all measures to ensure that he has access to health care and he is in contact with doctors. Everything will be fine,” said a statement attributed to Doumbouya.

Vowing to restore democracy in the West African nation, Doumbouya said the National Committee for Rally and Development, the name the troops had given themselves, would dissolve the country's constitution and government while also closing its land and air borders for a week.

Draped in a Guinean flag, the colonel was flanked by a half dozen other soldiers in uniform, underlining that "the duty of a soldier is to save the country."

He accused Conde of personalizing politics and not doing enough to improve the people’s economic and social conditions.

"We will no longer entrust politics to one man. We will entrust it to the people," he said, claiming that he was "acting in the best interests of the nation."

Footage of Conde being detained by special forces circulated earlier in the day on social media.

Conde, 83, was re-elected for a third term in October 2020 in polls marred by violence.

He first came to power in 2010 in a vote seen as the first democratic election since the former French colony gained independence.

His detention was reported in local media within hours of heavy gunfire being heard in the capital Conakry around the presidential palace on Sunday morning.

The report also said that soldiers were seen driving through the capital near the presidential palace and urging residents to stay home.

Doumbouya later also replaced all regional governors with military commanders.

The statement attributed to Doumbouya also said that local officials had been replaced by the army while secretaries-general of the ministerial departments are now responsible for day-to-day affairs.

“The outgoing ministers are invited to a meeting Monday Sept. 6 at 11 a.m. at the people's palace. Any refusal to turn out will be constituted as a rebellion,” the statement said.

The decisions were announced hours after the military announced the takeover of the government in the West African country, effectively dissolving the National Assembly and constitution.

To ensure continuity, the military also called on Guineans to report to work Monday, noting that all arrangements shall be made to ensure the safety of citizens and their property.

An overnight nationwide curfew will be in place until further notice.

A military source told local media that the only bridge connecting the mainland to the Kaloum neighborhood, which houses most ministries and the presidential palace, had been sealed off by heavily armed troops stationed around the palace.

Access to the greater Conakry area remained blocked by soldiers from Coyah, a city located 50 kilometers (31 miles) from the capital.

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