The West African nation of Guinea has been rocked by a military coup attempt on Sunday, following hours of reported heavy gunfire erupting near the presidential palace in the capital of Conakry.
Video emerged online showing the 83-year old elected president of the country, Alpha Condé, under military detention amid a coup reportedly led by Colonel Mamady Doumbouya, said to be a former French legionnaire who is commander of an elite national army unit.
According to the latest in BBC, "The fate of Guinea's President Alpha Condé is unclear after an unverified video showed him in the hands of soldiers, who said they had staged a coup."
But there's current conflicting reports over the degree to which the military rebels actually control the country. "However, the defense minister has been quoted as saying the attempted takeover had been thwarted," BBC underscores. It remains that all evidence points to the military rebels having de facto control at this point, given Condé has been confirmed under arrest.
The coup leaders announced on state TV they've taken over, dissolved the constitution, and have sealed the country's borders.
Col. Doumbouya announced after seizing a national broadcast headquarters: "The personalization of political life is over. We will no longer entrust politics to one man, we will entrust it to the people," Doumbouya said. "The duty of a soldier is to save the country," he added, while also saying the borders will be closed for at least one week.
BREAKING: Military coup in Guinea; President Conde arrested. National Assembly dissolved - reports pic.twitter.com/5B4ns1J1YC— Insider Paper (@TheInsiderPaper) September 5, 2021
International reports say the fate and whereabouts of Conde remain unknown. He was elected to his third term as president in 2020, in an election which saw violent protests resulting in dozens of deaths.
President Conde first came to power in 2010 as the country's first democratically elected leader since independence from France.
But it was the last election which was most controversial. The Associated Press explains that "Conde has faced mounting criticism ever since he sought a third term in office last year, saying the two-term limit didn’t apply to him because of a constitutional referendum he had put forth." In 2011 there was an attempt on his life in which one of his body guards was killed.