Guinean President Alpha Conde was reportedly arrested by the country's military after an apparent coup unfolded where army officials suspended the region's Constitution.
In a video recording, Guinean army officer Mamady Doumbouya said, "We will no longer entrust politics to a man. We will entrust it to the people. We come only for that; it is the duty of a soldier, to save the country."
Sudden Coup in Guinea
President Conde's adviser revealed that the nation's leader was arrested and that a coup was initiated in the West African country. Authorities said that the location of the 83-year-old lawmaker remained unclear. Conde was known to have won last year's elections which were heavily disputed.
Doumbouya wore a special forces uniform during the video recording as he announced Conde's arrest and the Constitution's suspension. The troop member said that the government and all other institutions were also temporarily stopped. He later announced the shut down of land and air borders in the country in the video that has been spreading throughout the region, CNN reported.
However, the country's defense ministry said that despite the video announcement, the region's presidential guard thwarted the attempted takeover. The statements were made a few hours after heavy gunfire was heard near the presidential palace in Conakry, the country's capital.
Amid the chaotic coup, UN secretary-general Antonio Guterres and the African Union have criticized the military and demanded the release of President Conde. The region is rich in natural resources but has been ravaged by years of unrest and mismanagement, which has made it one of the poorest countries in the world.
During Doumbouya's video statement, nine unnamed soldiers could be seen, some wearing red, gold, and green national flags. They said that the coup was initiated because of the government's alleged corruption, mismanagement, and poverty, BBC reported.
Suspension of the Constitution
The armed personnel called themselves the National Committee for Reconciliation and Development. The soldiers said they would make consultations to create a new Constitution after the suspension of the previous one. They said that the new ruling would be more inclusive than its predecessor.
Doumbouya, who was a former French legionnaire, was reportedly the leader of the coup conducted by an elite unit. In an unverified video, President Conde appeared to have been asked to confirm he was unfarmed by the soldiers, but the lawmaker refused to respond.
The coup involved a score of soldiers flooding the streets of Conakry, blocking major roads. Residents were dumbfounded before Doumbouya made his video announcement of the country's takeover. He said the reasons for the incident were a violation of human rights and the disrespect of democratic principles.
The 83-year-old president was first seated as the nation's leader 11 years ago in the first democratic election in the region since its independence from France in 1958. At the time, Conde committed to bringing the country and its nearly 13 million population away from the culture of corruption that has been ravaging the nation for decades. However, the president received widespread criticism last fall after seeking a third term, which some have argued was a breach of the Constitution, the Washington Post reported.