Guinean particular forces have seized energy in a coup, arresting the president, and promising to vary the political make-up of the West African nation.
The brand new army leaders introduced a nationwide curfew “till additional discover”, saying it will convene President Alpha Conde’s cupboard ministers and different senior politicians at 11am (11:00 GMT) on Monday.
“Any refusal to attend shall be thought of a rise up,” the commandos stated in an announcement.
The nation’s governors and different prime directors shall be changed by the army, it added.
“We now have determined, after having taken the president, to dissolve the structure,” stated a uniformed officer flanked by troopers toting assault rifles in a video despatched to AFP information company on Sunday.
The unidentified officer additionally stated Guinea’s land and air borders had been shut.
In an earlier video, the putschists confirmed President Conde sitting on a settee surrounded by troops. The 83-year-old chief refused to reply a query from one soldier about whether or not he had been mistreated.
The nation of 13 million individuals – one of many world’s poorest nations regardless of boasting important mineral sources – has lengthy been beset by political instability.
Earlier on Sunday, residents of the capital Conakry’s Kaloum district, the federal government quarter, reported listening to heavy gunfire.
One Western diplomat in Conakry, who declined to be named, recommended the unrest might have began after the dismissal of a senior commander within the particular forces – frightening a few of its extremely educated members to insurgent.
The pinnacle of Guinea’s army particular forces, Lieutenant Colonel Mamady Doumbouya, later appeared on public tv, draped within the nationwide flag, saying authorities “mismanagement” prompted the coup.
“We’re now not going to entrust politics to at least one man, we’re going to entrust politics to the individuals,” Doumbouya stated. “Guinea is gorgeous. We don’t must rape Guinea any extra, we simply must make like to her.”
Youssouf Bah, a journalist primarily based in Conakry, stated members of the particular forces instructed him: “This isn’t a army coup. We’re right here to free the individuals.”
Bah famous there have been celebrations among the many individuals in lots of neighbourhoods within the capital, and a noticeable absence of army patrols on the streets.
“There got here a time when Guineans have been asking for change, most Guineans requested for change. So that is precisely what has occurred,” Bah instructed Al Jazeera.
Marie-Roger Biloa, from the Africa Worldwide Media Group, stated the safety forces in Guinea have been divided, however the elite forces have been “clearly the one main the sport” now.
The US State Division denounced the coup d’etat and warned it may “restrict” Washington’s potential to help Guinea.
“America condemns as we speak’s occasions in Conakry,” the State Division stated in an announcement.
“These actions may restrict the power of the US and Guinea’s different worldwide companions to help the nation because it navigates a path towards nationwide unity and a brighter future for the Guinean individuals.”
United Nations Secretary-Basic Antonio Guterres condemned the takeover in a tweet and known as for Conde’s instant launch.
The chairman of the African Union, DR Congo President Felix Tshisekedi, and the pinnacle of its govt physique, former Chadian Prime Minister Moussa Faki Mahamat, additionally decried the transfer, calling for Conde to be freed.
The Financial Group of West African States (ECOWAS), by means of its performing president, Ghana’s chief Nana Akufo-Addo, threatened sanctions if Guinea’s constitutional order was not restored.
European Union international coverage chief Josep Borrell demanded “respect for the state of regulation, the pursuits of peace and the wellbeing of the Guinean individuals”.
A French international ministry assertion additionally denounced the coup.
The putsch follows an extended interval of political stress in Guinea, first spurred by Conde’s extremely contested bid for a 3rd presidential time period final yr.
The day earlier than the presidential election final yr, the army blocked entry to Kaloum after an alleged army rise up east of the capital.
‘Demise to the torturers’
Information of the coup sparked celebrations in some elements of the capital, the place a whole bunch of individuals applauded the troopers.
“We’re pleased with the particular forces,” stated one demonstrator who requested anonymity. “Demise to the torturers and to the murderers of our youth.”
The latest presidential ballot in Guinea, in October 2020, was marred by violence and accusations of electoral fraud.
Conde gained a controversial third time period, however solely after pushing by means of a brand new structure in March 2020 permitting him to sidestep the nation’s two-term restrict.
Dozens of individuals have been killed throughout demonstrations towards a third term for Conde, typically in clashes with safety forces. A whole lot extra have been arrested.
Conde was proclaimed president on November 7 final yr – regardless of his principal challenger Cellou Dalein Diallo and different opposition figures denouncing the election as a sham.
The federal government cracked down, arresting a number of prominent opposition members for his or her alleged function in abetting electoral violence within the nation.
Conde, a former opposition chief himself who was at one level imprisoned and sentenced to loss of life, turned Guinea’s first democratically elected chief in 2010, profitable re-election in 2015.
He survived an assassination try in 2011. In recent times, nonetheless, he has been accused of drifting into authoritarianism.