Guinea’s President Alpha Conde was detained on Sunday by mutinous soldiers after an army colonel initiated a coup in the West African country.
The country’s borders were closed, and the constitution was declared invalid after an announcement by army Col. Mamadi Doumbouya, who told the public: “We will no longer entrust politics to one man. We will entrust it to the people.”
Videos on social media showed the 83-year-old President sitting disheveled on a couch in an unspecified location surrounded by armed soldiers.
The military group which seized control, referring to itself as the National Rally and Development Committee (CNRD), said Conde was unharmed and guaranteed his wellbeing.
Conde, in power for more than a decade, had seen his popularity plummet since he sought a third term last year, saying that term limits did not apply to him. Sunday’s dramatic developments underscored how dissent had mounted within the military as well.
On Sunday morning, heavy gunfire broke out near the presidential palace and went on for hours, sparking fears in a nation that already has seen multiple coups and presidential assassination attempts. The Defense Ministry initially claimed that the attack had been repelled by security forces, but uncertainty grew when there was no subsequent sign of Conde on state television or radio.
It was a dramatic setback for Guinea, where many had hoped the country had turned the page on military power grabs.