Guinea’s Coup: Who is Lieutenant Colonel Doumbouya, the man behind the coup?

In the early morning of Sunday, September 05, 2021 heavy gunfire erupted near the presidential palace of Guinea Conakry. Hours later, photos of Alpha Conde being arrested by military personnel started circulating all over Guinea’s news media.

At midday, the coup leader, Lieutenant Colonel Mamady Doumbouya, the commander of Guinea’s Special Forces released a statement on national TV announcing the coup. In a video, the man behind the coup had on a red beret and dark sunglasses, flanked by two soldiers as he spoke to the public.

“The socio-economic situation of the country, the dysfunction of republic institutions, the instrumentalization of justice, the trampling of the rights of citizens, the financial mismanagement[..] has led the republican army to resume its responsibility towards the sovereign of Guinea as a whole.” Doumbouya stated in a video

He continued, “ After having arrested the president, who is right now with us, we have decided to dissolve the current Constitution, dissolve the institution and the government, and the closure of land and air borders”

 Who is Lieutenant Colonel Doumbouya

Colonel Mamady Doumbouya is a former legionnaire, a branch of the French army that recruits foreigners. The former French Legionnaire received military training in France, Israel, Senegal and Liberia. He participated in different missions in Afghanistan, Ivory Coast, Djibouti and the Central African Republic. In 2018, he was called to Guinea by President Alpha Conde to take charge of the newly formed Guinea’s Special Force. However, his attempt to make his Special Forces operate as an autonomous unit away from the Defense Ministry created some friction between him and the government.

The French Legionnaires is known for recruiting foreign soldiers including those of African origins, especially citizens of former French colonies. They’ve been operating in Africa since the colonial days and still have a strong presence on the continent. Many Africans accused the legionnaire for numerous post-colonial coups that took place on the continent in the past decades. 

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