Caracas, September 6, 2021 (OrinocoTribune.com)—In the midst of tension and uncertainty, the inhabitants of the Republic of Guinea face a new political crisis following the coup that overthrew the president, Alpha Condé, who had ruled the African country democratically since 2010.
Since last Sunday, September 5, insurgent military forces under the direction of Colonel Mamady Doumbouya, stormed the presidential palace in Conakry and illegally detained President Condé. The justification of the military coup plotters was the president’s alleged lack of democratic principles, financial mismanagement, and the rise of corruption, among other allegations.
The military junta, calling itself the National Council for Regrouping and Development (CNRD), declared that they were holding the deposed president. They also dismissed ministers and senior state officials, and closed the borders, while diplomatic delegations alerted their fellow citizens to stay safe.
There is a military coup ongoing in the resource-rich West African nation of Guinea, and the leader of the putsch was trained by the US and France.
In this photo, the coup leader is posing in front of the US embassy with soldiers from AFRICOM https://t.co/0yJC6YjETX
— Benjamin Norton (@BenjaminNorton) September 5, 2021
Likewise, the CNRD decreed the dissolution of the Constitution of the Republic of Guinea, and of all elements of the Condé government. They announced that the borders would be closed for at least a week.
“We will no longer entrust politics to one man. We will entrust it to the people,” said coup leader Colonel Doumbouya in a public statement. “The duty of a soldier is to save the country.” Doumbouya is commander of Guinea’s special forces, and a former French legionnaire who has trained with French and US military forces operating in Africa, particularly the United States Africa Command (AFRICOM).
Guinea is one of the main producers of bauxite in the world, and lacks the industrial capabilities required to process the raw material into alumina or aluminum. The extraction market of bauxite in Guinea is controlled by ALCOA (US), RUSAL (Russia) and Hongqiao (China). The country also has significant reserves of iron. Some analysts believe that these commodities might be the real reason behind the coup d’état.
The first reactions in the international arena took place within the United Nations (UN), whose secretary general, António Guterres, spoke through his official account on Twitter regarding the action that overthrew the ruler of Guinea-Conakry, as the Republic of Guinea is also known.
“I am personally following the situation in Guinea very closely,” said Guterres. “I strongly condemn any seizure of power by force of arms and I ask for the immediate release of President Alpha Condé.”
I am personally following the situation in Guinea very closely. I strongly condemn any takeover of the government by force of the gun and call for the immediate release of President Alpha Conde.
— António Guterres (@antonioguterres) September 5, 2021
The military forces that took power ordered the enforcement of a curfew throughout Guinean territory, starting at 8 p.m. on Monday. Meanwhile, they promised to open a consultation process in order to determine “the broad lines for the transition.”
With the outlook still unclear, the coup apparently received the support of social and political groups, following the increased rejection of President Condé’s nomination for a third term. However, analysts highlight that Condé became the country’s first democratically elected president in 2010, after decades of autocratic regimes.
Similarly, the government of the Bolivarian Republic of Venezuela, through the Foreign Ministry, issued a communiqué in which it “rejects the coup… vows to reestablish Constitutional Order and the safety of all its citizens… while demanding the preservation of physical security and the release of President Alpha Condé.”
— Cancillería Venezuela 🇻🇪 (@CancilleriaVE) September 6, 2021
The official document states that the President of the Bolivarian Republic of Venezuela, Nicolás Maduro Moros, stands in solidarity with the people of Guinea and encourages the restoration of Constitutional Order, and the safety of all its citizens.
Below is the unofficial translation of the statement:
The Bolivarian Republic of Venezuela rejects the coup d’état perpetrated against the government of President Alpha Condé in the Republic of Guinea and deplores the suspension of its Constitution and the rule of law, as well as the illegal arrest of its president.
The President of the Bolivarian Republic of Venezuela, Nicolás Maduro Moros, stands in solidarity with the people of Guinea and hopes for the restoration of Constitutional Order and the safety of all its citizens.
The Bolivarian Republic of Venezuela expresses its support for democracy and the full restoration of the rule of law, while demanding the preservation of the physical security and the release of President Alpha Condé.
-Caracas, September 5, 2021
The EU also condemned the coup
The high representative of the European Union for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy, Josep Borrell, also condemned the coup in Guinea and asked the military to immediately release the country’s president, Alpha Condé.
Je condamne la prise de pouvoir par la force en #Guinée et appelle à la libération immédiate du président Alpha Condé.
J’invite tous les acteurs à agir dans le respect de l’état de droit, de l’intérêt de la paix et pour le bien-être de la population guinéenne.#AUEU
— Josep Borrell Fontelles (@JosepBorrellF) September 5, 2021
“I condemn the violent seizure of power in Guinea and call for the immediate release of President Alpha Condé,” Borrell tweeted this Sunday. In turn, the politician also asked all the country’s political forces to be guided by “the rule of law, the interests of peace, and the welfare of the people of Guinea,” he said.
Featured image: Coup leader Colonel Doumbouya smiling for a photo in front of the US Embassy, accompanied by AFRICOM officers. Photo courtesy of Twiter/@kambale.
Special for Orinoco Tribune by Jesús Rodríguez Espinoza
Jesús Rodríguez-Espinoza is an expert in international relations, Venezuelan politics and communication. He served for several years as Consul General of Venezuela in Chicago (United States) and prior to that he was part of the foundational editorial team of the website Aporrea.org. He is founder and editor of the Venezuelan independent and anti-imperialist website Orinoco Tribune.