The news agency AFP sent out a video Sunday night after several hours of conflicting reports about whether the military had succeeded in seizing power.
“After taking over the presidency, we have decided to repeal the constitution,” said a uniformed officer surrounded by armed soldiers.
The official added that Guinea’s borders and airspace have been closed and the government has been disbanded.
In another video, President Conte (83) is shown sitting on a sofa, surrounded by soldiers. Conte looks tired and thin. He is asked if he has been abused, but refuses to respond. It was not known Sunday night where Conte was.
Shooting in the capital
Guinea – one of the poorest countries in the world, despite rich mineral deposits – has long struggled with political instability.
Earlier on Sunday, it was announced that residents in the government quarter in the capital, Conakry, could hear the gunfire.
A Western diplomat in Conakry, who did not want to be named, believes the unrest may have been triggered by the sacking of one of the Special Forces leaders. This is said to have provoked many in the well-trained army to revolt. The information has not been confirmed.
Later, the head of the Army Special Forces, Lieutenant Colonel Mamati Dumbboya, appeared on state television. He was wrapped in the national flag and referred to as the background to the government’s misrule coup.
– The personality of politics is over. We will no longer allow one man to control all politics, we will allow people to do that, he said.
UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres has condemned the plot on Twitter and demanded Conte’s immediate release.
The African Union (AU) also condemns the plot.
Years of conflict
Guinea, located on the west coast of Africa, is one of the poorest countries in the world, plagued by years of violence and conflict.
The coup comes after a long period of political turmoil following last year’s controversial presidential election. Conte was re-elected for a third term in October last year, which did not allow re-election after amending the constitution, but lost dozens of lives in dozens of violent incidents.