Soldiers who staged an uprising in Guinea’s capital have said in a short broadcast on state television that they have dissolved the constitution and the government in the West African state.
After seizing the airwaves, the mutinous soldiers vowed to restore democracy and gave themselves a name: The National Committee of Gathering and Development.
Colonel Mamadi Doumbouya sat draped in a Guinean flag with a half dozen other soldiers in uniform alongside him as he read the statement, vowing: “The duty of a soldier is to save the country.”
“The personalisation of political life is over. We will no longer entrust politics to one man, we will entrust it to the people,” Doumbouya said, adding that the constitution would also be dissolved and borders closed for one week.
Doumbouya, who has headed a special forces unit in the military, said he was acting in the best interests of the nation of over 12.7 million people. Not enough economic progress has been made since independence from France in 1958, the colonel said.
“If you see the state of our roads, if you see the state of our hospitals, you realize that after 72 years, it’s time to wake up,” he said. “We have to wake up.”
Unverified videos shared on social media on Sunday apparently showed President Alpha Conde being surrounded by soldiers. His whereabouts were unclear.
This followed earlier reports of heavy gunfire in Conakry near the presidential palace though it was unclear who was responsible.
Guinea’s defence ministry said that an attack by mutinous special forces on the presidential palace had been repelled, though it was not immediately clear who held power.
The defence ministry said the attempted insurgency had been put down.
“The presidential guard, supported by the loyalist and republican defence and security forces, contained the threat and repelled the group of assailants,” it said in a statement.