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.
The video only lasts 36 seconds, but it was long enough to spark wild rumours about the role played by the West – France and the US in the forefront – in the fall of Guinea’s President Alpha Condé on 5 September.
In this video, which local media station aConakry Live shared on Twitter and which has nearly 100,000 views, we see at least three US soldiers, easily identifiable by their uniforms that bear the Star-Spangled Banner. The three men appear to be escorted by Guinean soldiers in uniform, with weapons in hand and their faces somewhat hidden by a khaki helmet.
Translation of Tweet below:
Just in: Is the US military complicit in the coup against Alpha Condé?
In this video, which we received from reliable sources, we see American soldiers, armed as in a normal theatre of operations, parading with members of the special forces
Dernière minute: des militaires américains complices du coup d'Etat contre Alpha Condé?
Dans cette vidéo que nous avons reçu de sources certaines, on aperçoit des soldats américains, armés comme sur un théâtre d'opération normal, parader avec les éléments des forces spéciales pic.twitter.com/AdLuAL3JQo
— aConakry Live (@aConakryLive) September 8, 2021
The video features a 4×4, which is stuck in a jubilant crowd that is chanting “Freedom! Freedom! Long live the Americans.” It was filmed by one of the marines on his smartphone.
Shot in Conakry
In addition to the images, the caption that aConakry Live wrote on its Twitter post strongly contributed to fuelling the rumours.
READ MORE Guinea Coup – the Fall of Alpha Condé
Is it fair to say that these US soldiers helped dislodge Condé from the Sékhoutouréya Palace? If there is one thing that we can be sure of, it is the location. In this short video, there are clues which indicate that these images were indeed captured in Guinea. One of the vehicles carrying the US soldiers bears RC (“Région de Conakry”) 4362 AV, a license plate typical of private cars in the Guinean capital.
In the background, the presence of a beige building with an orange roof also proves that the images were filmed in Conakry. To be more precise, on Le Prince highway, in the vicinity of the Cosa-Bambeto axis – which is oppositionist Cellou Dalein Diallo’s stronghold – and less than 1km from the US embassy.
Since then, US authorities have stated several times that they were not in any way involved in the coup perpetrated by Lieutenant Colonel Mamady Doumbouya. For his part, Jordan Garcia, honorary consul of Guinea in California, tweeted that these soldiers from the US embassy in Conakry were being escorted, nothing more.
Translation of tweet below:
To those who have been sharing the video featuring US soldiers in a 4 x 4, I would like to point out that they are the escorting US soldiers from the American Embassy, nothing more…
Pour ceux qui partagent la vidéo de soldats américains dans un 4 x 4 je tiens à vous signaler que c’est l’escorte de l’Ambassade américaine à Conakry rien de plus… #guinee #conakry #guineeconakry #madeinguinea #guinee224
— Jordan Garcia (@ConsulofGuinea) September 9, 2021
According to the New York Times (NYT), the soldiers were part of a team made up of a dozen Green Berets who had come to Guinea in mid-July to train about 100 men from the Special Forces, led by Doumbouya, at the Forécariah base. When they realised a coup was underway, the US military went directly to the US embassy in Conakry and suspended the training programme, said Kelly Cahalan, a spokesperson for the US Africa Command. Any coup is “incompatible with US military training and education,” she added.
Although the US regularly trains troops on the continent, mainly in counter-terrorism, this is the first time that a coup has taken place during a US military exercise.
On 10 September, the NYT reported that US officials were investigating reports that Lieutenant Colonel Doumbouya and the other coup plotters had left the Forécariah base in an armed convoy to carry out the coup. They escaped while their US instructors were sleeping, they said.
Although the US regularly trains troops on the continent, mainly in counter-terrorism, this is the first time that a coup has taken place during a US military exercise. US officials are confused about why Doumbouya carried out this coup when he was working so closely with their military.
But other putsches on the continent have already raised questions about the effectiveness of these US training programmes. In any case, Washington is extremely embarrassed, as this took place on their watch, and formally condemned the 5 September coup via a statement issued by its State Department spokesperson:
“The United States condemns today’s [5 September] events in Conakry. Violence and any extra-constitutional measures will only erode Guinea’s prospects for peace, stability, and prosperity. These actions could limit the ability of the United States 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.”
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