Guinea: Military Arrests President, Dissolves Government in Coup

People celebrate in the streets with members of Guinea's armed forces after the arrest of Guinea's president, Alpha Conde, in a coup d'etat in Conakry, September 5, 2021. - Guinean special forces seized power in a coup on September 5, arresting the president and imposing an indefinite curfew in the …
CELLOU BINANI/AFP via Getty Images

Members of Guinea’s military enacted a coup d’état on Sunday, arresting the West African nation’s president and dissolving the Guinean constitution.

“We have dissolved government and institutions,” the coup’s leader, Guinean Col. Mamady Doumbouya, said in a video statement broadcast on state TV on September 5. “We call our brothers in arms to join the people.”

“The personalization of political life is over. We will no longer entrust politics to one man, we will entrust it to the people,” Doumbouya, a former French legionnaire, added.

Videos circulated on social media on Sunday appearing to show Guinea President Alpha Conde detained by Guinean soldiers in an undisclosed location. An adviser to President Conde later confirmed his arrest by the Guinean army to CNN. By Monday, Reuters reported that Guinea’s military had detained other top politicians in Guinea and barred them from leaving the country.

The Guinean Special Forces arrive at the Palace of the People in Conakry on September 6, 2021, ahead of a meeting with the Ministers of the Ex-President of Guinea, Alpha Conde. - Guinean special forces seized power in a coup on September 5, 2021 arresting the president Alpha Conde and imposing an indefinite curfew in the west African country."We have decided, after having taken the president, to dissolve the constitution," said a uniformed officer flanked by soldiers toting assault rifles in a video sent to AFP. (Photo by CELLOU BINANI / AFP) (Photo by CELLOU BINANI/AFP via Getty Images)

The Guinean Special Forces arrive at the Palace of the People in Conakry on September 6, 2021, ahead of a meeting with the Ministers of the Ex-President of Guinea, Alpha Conde. (CELLOU BINANI/AFP via Getty Images)

Doumbouya summoned members of Conde’s ministers and other senior government officials to an extraordinary meeting on September 6 inside Guinea’s national parliament in the country’s capital, Conakry, where he detailed his alleged plan to form a new government for the West African nation.

“A consultation will be carried out to define the major framework of the transition, then a government of national unity will be put in place to lead the transition,” Doumbouya said.

“At the end of this transitional phase, we’ll set the tone for a new era for governance and economic development,” the military colonel added, without providing a time frame for the actions.

Elsewhere during the meeting in Conakry, Doumbouya ordered all government ministers present to return their official state-issued vehicles to the Guinean army.

“Light traffic resumed, and some shops reopened around the main administrative district of Kaloum in Conakry that witnessed heavy gunfire throughout Sunday,” Reuters revealed on Monday. The news agency referred to reports that members of the Guinean special forces “battled soldiers loyal to Conde” on September 5 in an ultimately successful effort to detain the head of state.

People celebrate as the Guinean Special Forces arrive at the Palace of the People in Conakry on September 6, 2021, ahead of a meeting with the Ministers of the Ex-President of Guinea, Alpha Conde. - Guinean special forces seized power in a coup on September 5, 2021 arresting the president Alpha Conde and imposing an indefinite curfew in the west African country."We have decided, after having taken the president, to dissolve the constitution," said a uniformed officer flanked by soldiers toting assault rifles in a video sent to AFP. (Photo by CELLOU BINANI / AFP) (Photo by CELLOU BINANI/AFP via Getty Images)

People celebrate as the Guinean Special Forces arrive at the Palace of the People in Conakry on September 6, 2021, ahead of a meeting with the Ministers of the Ex-President of Guinea, Alpha Conde. (CELLOU BINANI/AFP via Getty Images)

The Guinean army closed all of the country’s land and air borders after arresting Conde on Sunday but ordered their reopening by Monday. News of Guinea’s military coup and its subsequent border shutdowns spiked the price of aluminum to a 10-year high on Monday as the chaos threatened to disrupt supply chains of the soft metal.

“As of noon ET, three-month aluminum forward contracts on the London Metal Exchange rose 1.3 percent to $2,768 a metric ton, their highest level since early 2011,” the Wall Street Journal reported on September 6.

Mineral-rich Guinea boasts the world’s largest reserve of bauxite, which is an ore used to produce aluminum.

“Guinea exported 82.4 million tons of bauxite in 2020, making it the world’s largest exporter, according to metal’s brokerage Marex,” the Journal noted on Monday. “Almost all bauxite is used to make alumina, which itself is used primarily to make aluminum.”

Doumbouya attempted to quell fears from the mining sector over Guinea’s future exports of bauxite on Monday at his emergency meeting in Conakry. He said Guinea’s “sea borders would stay open so mining products could be exported,” according to Reuters. Guinea is bordered to the west by the Atlantic Ocean.

“A nightly curfew now in place does not apply to the mining sector,” Doumbouya added on Monday.

“I can assure business and economic partners that activities will continue normally in the country. We are asking mining companies to continue their activities,” he said.

Members of Guinea's armed forces celebrate after the arrest of Guinea's president, Alpha Conde, in a coup d'etat in Conakry on September 5, 2021. - Guinean special forces seized power in a coup on September 5, arresting the president and imposing an indefinite curfew in the poor west African country. "We have decided, after having taken the president, to dissolve the constitution," said a uniformed officer flanked by soldiers toting assault rifles in a video sent to AFP. (Photo by CELLOU BINANI / AFP) (Photo by CELLOU BINANI/AFP via Getty Images)

Members of Guinea’s armed forces celebrate after the arrest of Guinea’s president, Alpha Conde, in a coup d’etat in Conakry on September 5, 2021. (CELLOU BINANI/AFP via Getty Images)

Guinea’s domestic population has suffered from poverty for decades despite the country’s mineral wealth. Doumbouya on Sunday claimed he and his military faction felt compelled to dissolve the country’s government to end “poverty and endemic corruption” in the West African nation.

President Conde’s popularity has “plummeted” since he won a controversial third term in office in October 2020, according to the U.K.’s Sky News. Conde won re-election last fall “after changing the constitution to allow him to stand again, despite violent protests from the opposition, which claimed dozens were killed.”

Conde’s government “increased taxes in recent weeks” causing frustration among many citizens during a time period when fuel prices also rose by 20 percent.

Guinea gained independence from France in 1958. The country, home to 12.7 million people, was ruled by autocratic governments from 1958-2010 until Conde became president of Guinea through the country’s first democratic election.

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