After ousting President Alpha Conde and dissolving his government, leaders of the military coup in Guinea promised on Monday to establish a transitional government of national unity.
The coup on Sunday, in which Conde and other top politicians were detained or barred from traveling, is the third since April in West and Central Africa, prompting fears that the region is slipping back to military rule.
With the takeover widely condemned by international powers, the new military leaders were under pressure to propose a plan beyond toppling the old order, and reassure investors that Guinea’s significant ore exports would continue.
Mamady Doumbouya, an ex-French legionnaire officer, told ministers and senior government officials that a consultation would be held to determine the major framework for transition.
We will set the tone for a new era of governance and economic development at the end of this transitional phase, he said, flanked by armed soldiers in red berets.
He did not specify what the transition would entail or give a date for the return of democratic elections.
His coup was driven by widespread disaffection with former President Conde, 83, who promised stability but brutally silenced opposition, failed to reduce poverty, and last year decided to run for a third term – a so-called illegal move.
A number of people welcomed the coup, but the mining sector was shaken. The country has the world’s largest reserves of bauxite, an ore used to make aluminium. On Monday, the metal hit a 10-year high, but there were no signs of supply disruptions.
To assuage fears, Doumbouya said sea borders would remain open so mining products could be exported. He said the nightly curfew now in place does not apply to the mining sector.
We are asking mining companies to continue operations in the country, he said, assuring business and economic partners that activities will continue normally.
ARREST OF POLITICIANS
In Conakry’s Kaloum administrative district, where special forces fought soldiers loyal to Conde throughout Sunday, there is light traffic and some shops have reopened . A military spokesman said on television that land and air borders had also been reopened.
However, crackdowns were evident. Humbouya banned government officials from leaving the country and ordered them to hand over their official vehicles.
Later, soldiers in red berets led the politicians through a jeering crowd to the army unit’s Conakry headquarters.
According to diplomatic sources, Prime Minister Ibrahima Kassory Fofana, Presidential Affairs Minister Mohamed Diané, and National Assembly Speaker Amadou Damaro Camara have all been arrested.
In a statement on Monday, Amnesty International called on the coup leaders to clarify the legal basis for Conde’s detention and to release those arbitrarily detained by Conde in the months leading up to the election last year.
In Guinea, however, experts maintain that the leverage on the military may be limited due to both its landlocked status and its non-membership in the West African currency union, rather than similar difficulties experienced in landlocked Mali after a coup in August 2020.