A Guinean army colonel Mamadi Doumbouya has seized control of state television airwaves Sunday and announced that President Alpha Conde’s government had been dissolved hours after heavy gunfire erupted near the presidential palace.
Colonel Mamadi Doumbouya said the constitution has been suspended and land borders are now closed.
Doumbouya made no mention of the whereabouts of 83-year-old president but viral videos and photos show a dishevelled Conde whose popularity has plummeted since he sought a third term last year.
Doumbouya added, “the personalisation of political life is over. We will no longer entrust politics to one man, we will entrust it to the people…”
Earlier, heavy gunfire erupted near the presidential palace and went on for hours, raising security concerns in a West African nation with a long history of military power grabs and coup attempts.
The Defense Ministry later said the presidential guard and other security forces had “contained the threat and repelled the group of assailants.”
Conde first came to power in 2010 in the country’s first democratic election since independence from France in 1958.
He was recently re-elected which was greeted by violent street demonstrations in which the opposition said dozens were killed.
Many saw his presidency as a fresh start for the country, which has been mired by decades of corrupt, authoritarian rule.
In 2011, he narrowly survived an assassination attempt after gunmen surrounded his home overnight and pounded his bedroom with rockets.
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