Guinean soldiers claim to have seized power in coup attempt

Guinean soldiers claim to have seized power in coup attemptAfter heavy gunfire was heard near the presidential palace in the capital, Conakry, on Sunday morning, an elite national army unit has announced it has seized power in Guinea and deposed the country’s president, Alpha Condé, in an attempted coup, the Guardian said in a report.

Soldiers who staged an uprising in Guinea's capital on Sunday said on state television that they had dissolved the West African nation's government and constitution and closed all land and air borders, according to reports by media, Reuters said.

At the same time, the defense ministry said an attack on the presidential palace by mutinous forces had been put down, deepening a sense of confusion at the nature of the events.

The wellbeing of Condé, in power since 2010, has also not been confirmed, but pictures circulating on social media showed soldiers surrounding the president as he leaned back on a sofa in bare feet, in jeans and a partially open shirt and vest.

Unrest had erupted on Sunday morning when residents in Conakry shared videos on social media of military vehicles patrolling the streets.

Witnesses told Reuters they had seen two civilians with gunshot wounds amid the fighting.

According to Guardian, the unrest in Guinea comes less than a year after Conde – a former widely respected activist and veteran opposition figure – won a third term last November, to widespread dismay. Last March, Guinea voted on a controversial referendum approving changes to the constitution, allowing the president to serve a further two terms. The opposition boycotted the referendum and more than 40 people died in violent protests before the vote.