Lt. Col. Mamady Doumbouya, a career officer who led Guinea’s special forces in a coup against the country’s long-serving president, Alpha Conde, was a member of the French Foreign Legion who has been trained by other foreign militaries.
Mamady said on Sunday he had dissolved the West African country’s government and constitution and closed its land and air borders. The United Nations has condemned any takeover by force and the West African regional bloc — a group of fifteen West African countries — threatened retaliation.
Conde is a former opposition leader who was, at one point, imprisoned and sentenced to death. He became Guinea’s first democratically elected leader in 2010 and won re-election in 2015. He survived an assassination attempt in 2011 but has in recent years been accused of drifting into dictatorship.
Doumbouya is from Kankan in eastern Guinea, and like Conde, is from the Malinke ethnic group, also called the Mandinka, France 24 reported. He is married to a French woman and has three children, according to Guinean media.
On Twitter, CongoIsBleeding @kambale posted a photo that appeared to be taken in front of a U.S. embassy and tweeted that one of the people in the photograph was Doumbouya, accompanied by U.S. Africa Command soldiers. There was no photo attribution, no photo credit and no one was identified in the photo.
“Fascinating to see a picture of @USAfricaCommand soldiers with the Guinea (Conakry) coup leader Col. Mamadi Doumbouya. Commando that did the coup were heavily trained by French and Americans via #AFRICOM mainly in Burkina Faso,” he wrote.
The U.S. State Department has denounced the coup and warned it could “limit” Washington’s ability to support Guinea. “The U.S. condemns today’s events in Conakry-Guineas Capital, “ it said in a statement.
Doumbouya had military training in Israel, Senegal and Gabon, BBC reported. In Israel, he completed the operational protection specialist training at the International Security Academy.
PM News Nigeria reported that Doumbouya also had training in Cypress and the U.K. There is no reporting as of this writing that Doumbouya had U.S. military training.
After serving in the French foreign legion for several years, Col. Doumbouya was asked by President Condé to return to Guinea to lead the newly established elite Special Forces Group (GFS) in 2018.
Guinea has seen sustained economic growth during Conde’s decade in power thanks to the country’s mineral wealth. The coup has raised the political and operational risk for its minerals, which include gold, diamonds, iron ore and bauxite.
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Mining accounts for about 35 percent of GDP in Guinea but the development of many of its minerals has been hampered by lack of infrastructure, legal friction and alleged corruption, making it one of the world’s poorest countries.
“These actions could limit the ability of the U.S. and Guinea’s other international partners to support the country as it navigates a path toward national unity and a brighter future for the Guinean people.”
However, the elite army unit’s head, Mamady said “poverty and endemic corruption” had driven his forces to remove Conde from office.
“We are no longer going to entrust politics to one man, we are going to entrust politics to the people,” Mamady said. ”Guinea is beautiful. We don’t need to rape Guinea anymore; we just need to make love to her.”
News of Conde’s political demise was met with relief in neighboring Senegal, which has a large diaspora of Guineans who opposed him.