SA govt calls for release of Guinea's President Alpha Condé after coup

Special forces have seized power in a coup, arresting the 83-year-old president and imposing an indefinite curfew in the West African country.

FILE: Guinea's President Alpha Conde. Picture: AFP.

JOHANNESBURG - The South African government is calling for the immediate release of Guinea's President Alpha Condé.

Special forces have seized power in a coup, arresting the 83-year-old president and imposing an indefinite curfew in the West African country.

It’s being reported that Guinea's land and air borders have been shut and the government has been dissolved.

In a statement on Monday, the South African government said it was concerned about the ongoing political and security situation in the Republic of Guinea and called for soldiers to exercise restraint.

“In addition, South Africa urges all political actors and civil society to engage in meaningful dialogue in order to resolve the current political challenges facing the country.”

It also called on the United Nations to intervene and bring stability.

'GOVERNMENT MISMANAGEMENT'

The nation of around 13 million people -- one of the world's poorest countries despite boasting significant mineral resources -- has long been beset by political instability.

Earlier on Sunday, residents of the capital Conakry's Kaloum district, the government quarter, had reported hearing heavy gunfire.

One Western diplomat in Conakry who declined to be named suggested the unrest may have started after the dismissal of a senior commander in the special forces -- provoking some of its highly trained members to rebel.

AFP was unable to independently confirm this account.

The head of Guinea's military special forces, Lieutenant-Colonel Mamady Doumbouya, appeared on public television, draped in the national flag, saying government "mismanagement" prompted the coup.

"We are no longer going to entrust politics to one man, we are going to entrust politics to the people," Doumbouya said.

"Guinea is beautiful. We don't need to rape Guinea anymore, we just need to make love to her," he added.

Additional reporting by AFP.

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