President Alpha Conde
Alpha Conde. File photo

The elite Guinea army unit has claimed they have removed President Alpha Conde from office and dissolved the government and constitution.

The special forces soldiers while appearing on Sunday said they have closed the land and air borders of the country.

The United States has condemned the events on Sunday in the Guinean capital Conakry where special forces soldiers appeared to oust the country’s long-serving President.

However, the elite army unit’s head Mamady Doumbouya said “poverty and endemic corruption” had driven his forces to remove President Alpha Conde from his office.

“We have dissolved government and institutions,” a media report quoted Doumbouya, a former French foreign legionnaire, as saying on state television, draped in Guinea’s national flag and surrounded by eight other armed soldiers.

“We are going to rewrite a constitution together,” Doumbouya added.

According to reports, Gunfire erupted near the presidential palace in Conakry on Sunday morning.

Later, videos shared on social media showed Conde in a room surrounded by army special forces.

Reports quoted military sources as saying that President Alpha Conde was taken to an undisclosed location and that the special forces commanded by Doumbouya.

The special forces have made several other arrests including senior government officials, sources said.

Guinea’s main opposition leader Cellou Dalein Diallo said he was not among those detained as rumoured.

Conde came to power for the third term in October last year after changing the constitution of the country to allow him to stand again which triggered violent protests by the opposition.

The government, in recent weeks, increased taxes to replenish state coffers and raised the price of fuel by 20%, causing widespread frustration, as per reports.

It is not clear if Doumbouya has taken full control of the country as the defence ministry issued a statement saying that an attack on the presidential palace was repelled.

United Nations Secretary-General Antonio Guterres said he strongly condemned “any takeover of the government by force” and called for Conde’s immediate release.

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