A coup in Guinea has toppled President Alpha Condé. Since early in the morning of 5 September, the Guinean presidential palace and its environs saw heavy gunfire. The putsch was carried out by the Special Forces Group, led by Mamady Doumbouya.
Why was Alpha Condé so easily captured?
In principle, the presidential palace of Sékhoutouréya – located on the peninsula of Kaloum, in Conakry – was surrounded by a triple security cordon consisting of soldiers from the Bataillon Autonome de Sécurité Présidentiel (BASP), which was based at Camp Makambo, in the Boulbinet district, only a few kilometres away. But in the early morning of 5 September, the small detachments, who were sporting red berets and managing the three checkpoints along the avenue leading to the palace’s entrance gate, were still sleeping.
The BASP soldiers were loyal to the President – some of them came from within the ranks of the ruling Rassemblement du Peuple de Guinée (RPG) – but were neither properly trained nor armed. French General Bruno Clément-Bollée, who worked hard to restructure the Guinean army as per Condé’s request, said that Sékhoutouréya was “one of the worst guarded palaces in West Africa.” Compared to how well protected the Plateau Palace in Abidjan is, “it’s night and day,” he adds.