CONAKRY, Guinea (AP) — A Guinean army colonel seized control of state television Sunday and declared that President Alpha Conde’s government had been dissolved and the West African nation’s borders will be closed, an announcement that came after hours of heavy gunfire erupted near the presidential palace.
Ghana’s Hearts of Oak were scheduled to take on CI Kamsar of Guinea in the First round of the CAF Champions League slated for 11 September but the current state of the Francophone African country has thrown the game into a big doubt.
The dramatic developments Sunday bore all the hallmarks of a West African coup d’etat. After seizing the airwaves, the mutinous soldiers vowed to restore democracy and gave themselves a name: The National Committee of Gathering and Development.
Conde’s whereabouts were not immediately known. Col. Mamadi Doumbouya, who spoke to the nation, made no mention of the 83-year-old president, whose popularity has plummeted since he sought a third term last year.
“The personalization 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.
“The duty of a soldier is to save the country,” he said.
Heavy gunfire had erupted early Sunday near the presidential palace in the capital of Conakry and went on for hours, sparking fears of a coup attempt. The Defense Ministry later claimed that the attack had been repelled but uncertainty grew when there was no sign of Conde on state television or radio.
Conde has faced mounting criticism ever since he sought a third term in office last year, saying the two-term limit didn’t apply to him because of a constitutional referendum he had put forth.