Military coup in Guinea condemned by UN, regional bodies

The United Nations (UN), the African Union (AU), and the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS), as well as certain states, condemned Guinea’s military coup on Sunday and demanded that the country’s president be released.

Heavy gunfire was heard earlier on Sunday in the urban commune of Kaloum, in the Guinean capital of Conakry, where the Presidential Palace and numerous ministerial departments are located.

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“The Presidential Guard, supported by the military and security services, controlled the threat and forced back the group of militants,” Guinea’s Defense Ministry announced in an official press release this afternoon.

Later that day, on national television, Lieutenant-Colonel Mamady Doumbouya claimed that his soldiers had arrested President Alpha Conde and dissolved the government and national institutions.

The announcement closed the country’s borders and proclaimed the country’s constitution unconstitutional.

Conde was surrounded by armed soldiers in a video released on social media, although the time and location of the video’s capture are unknown.

On Sunday, UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres, the European Union, the African Union, and ECOWAS unanimously condemned the coup in Guinea and demanded Conde’s release.

On Twitter, Guterres stated: “I am personally keeping a close eye on the situation in Guinea. I vehemently oppose any military takeover of the government and demand President Alpha Conde’s immediate release.”

In a statement, the 55-member AU also demanded Conde’s immediate release.

The AU Peace and Security Council, chaired by Felix Tshisekedi, president of the Democratic Republic of the Congo and current AU chairperson, and Moussa Faki Mahamat, chairperson of the AU Commission, have also called for an urgent meeting of the AU Peace and Security Council to examine the new situation in Guinea and take appropriate measures in the circumstances.

“ECOWAS categorically condemns the attempted coup d’etat that occurred on Sunday,” the community stated in a statement, calling for President Conde and other detainees to be released safely.

“ECOWAS also seeks the restoration of Guinea’s constitutional order in order to avoid the use of sanctions,” the organization said.

On Sunday, the Nigerian government criticized Guinea’s military takeover of power. “The government of Nigeria strongly condemns and rejects any unconstitutional change of government and, as a result, calls on those responsible for this coup to restore constitutional order as soon as possible and protect all lives and property,” said Esther Sunsawan, a spokesperson for the Nigerian Foreign Ministry.

Josep Borrell, the EU’s High Representative for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy, criticized the coup in Guinea in a tweet, calling on the rebels to free President Conde.

In a statement, US State Department spokesman Ned Price condemned the military’s seizure of power in Guinea, asking all parties involved to avoid bloodshed and engage in discussion.

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Mridha Shihab Mahmud is a writer, content editor and photojournalist. He works as a staff reporter at News Hour. He is also involved in humanitarian works through a trust called Safety Assistance For Emergencies (SAFE). Mridha also works as film director. His passion is photography. He is the chief respondent person in Mymensingh Film & Photography Society. Besides professional attachment, he loves graphics designing, painting, digital art and social networking.
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