The Federal Government has denounced the military coup in Guinea, where a group of soldiers on Sunday announced that they have taken over the government and apparently arrested the democratically elected President Alpha Conde.
The Nigerian government in a statement issued on Sunday by the spokesperson of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Esther Sunsuwa, said it was saddened by the apparent coup d’etat, which it added was in clear violation of the ECOWAS protocol on democracy and good governance.
“The Government of Nigeria strongly condemns and rejects any unconstitutional change of government and therefore calls on those behind this coup to restore constitutional order without delay and protect all lives and property,” the statement said.
The fate of President Alpha Condé is unclear after an unverified video showed him in the hands of soldiers, who said they had seized power. They appeared on national TV claiming to have dissolved the government.
Numerous reports said the coup was led by an elite unit headed by a former French legionnaire, Lt Col Mamady Doumbouya.
However, the defence ministry said the attempted takeover had been thwarted by the presidential guard. This follows hours of heavy gunfire near the presidential palace in the capital, Conakry.
The TV address featured nine unnamed soldiers, several draped in the red, gold and green national flag, who said they had taken over because of rampant corruption, mismanagement and poverty.
Calling themselves the National Committee for Reconciliation and Development, they said the constitution had been dissolved and that there would be consultations to create a new, more inclusive one.
In one video, which the BBC has not been able to verify, soldiers ask President Condé to confirm he is unharmed but he refuses to respond.
Sitting barefoot on a sofa wearing jeans and a printed shirt, he does not have any visible injuries.
Those behind the coup said that all land and air borders had been closed for a week.
However, according to the defence ministry, forces loyal to the president have “contained the threat and repelled the group of assailants”.
Earlier, the only bridge connecting the mainland to the Kaloum peninsular, which houses most ministries and the presidential palace, was sealed off while many soldiers, some heavily armed, were posted around the palace, a military source told Reuters news agency.
There are unconfirmed reports that three soldiers have been killed.
President Condé was re-elected for a controversial third term in office amid violent protests last year.