Colonel Mamady Doumbouya is seen as the new man in charge of Guinea after leading a unit of elite soldiers to seize power on Sunday.
Announcing the military takeover, the 41-year-old former French legionnaire said the military had little choice due to widespread corruption, disregard for human rights and economic mismanagement under the government. president Alpha Condé.
“The president is with us, he is in a safe place,” he told French media on Sunday.
Dressed in a red beret, sunglasses and a military fatigues, he had announced earlier on Guinean public television that “the Guinean personalization of political life is over. We will no longer entrust politics to a only man, we will entrust it to the people “.
President Condé remains in detention while the UN, the African Union and the regional body Ecowas all condemn the military junta which claims to have replaced him.
After meeting with ministers in Mr. Condé’s government on Monday, the colonel said a new “unity” government would be formed in a few weeks and promised that there would be no “witch hunt” against the former officials.
Little is known about the youth of Col Doumbouya, except that he comes from the Malinké community like President Condé and is from the eastern region of Kankan in Guinea.
Some say he is a brilliant commander, while others say his credentials are questionable.
Notably, Col Doumbouya is one of 25 Guinean officials whom the EU has threatened to sanction for alleged human rights violations committed in recent years under President Condé.
Yet after Sunday’s takeover, he told the nation “we will learn from all the mistakes we made and from all Guineans.”
Colonel Doumbouya also quoted the late Jerry Rawlings of Ghana – who took power in 1979 – as saying “if the people are crushed by their elites, it is up to the army to give the people their freedom”.
His 15-year military career has seen him serve in missions in Afghanistan, Côte d’Ivoire, Djibouti, Central African Republic and in close protection in Israel, Cyprus, the United Kingdom and Guinea.
He would have “brilliantly completed” the specialist training in operational protection at the International Security Academy in Israel, as well as the elite military training in Senegal, Gabon and France.
After serving in the French Foreign Legion for several years, Colonel Doumbouya was invited by President Condé himself to return to Guinea to lead the elite group of special forces (GFS) newly created in 2018.
He was then based in Forécariah, in western Guinea, where he was attached to the Directorate of Territorial Surveillance (DST) and the general intelligence services.
By recalling Colonel Doumbouya to set up the GFS, President Condé will have no idea that he was hastening his own political demise.
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