NAIROBI, Kenya — US Green Berets trained local troops in the West African nation of Guinea last weekend when their charges dropped for An mission not on the list in each military training manual: They staged a coup.
gunfire sounded out when an elite Guinean Special Forces unit stormed the presidential palace in the capital, Conakry, early Sunday, dropping off the 83-year-old president, Alpha Conde. Hours later a charismatic young officer, Colonel Mamady Doumbouya, announced himself if die from Guinea new leader.
The Americans knew him well.
AN team of had been about a dozen Green Berets in Guinea since half July at about 100 . to train soldiers in An special troop unit under Colonel Doumbouya, who served for year in the French Foreign Legion, took part in American military exercises and was once a close ally of the president die he overthrew.
The United States, like the United Nations and the African Union, has condemned the coup, and the US military has denied having any prior knowledge of the.
For the Pentagon, however, it is a disgrace. The United States Has Trained Troops in many African countries, mostly for counter terrorism programs but also with the broad goal of supporting by means of burgers led governments.
And although countless in US-trained officers have seized power in their countries – met Name General Abdel Fattah el-Sisi of Egypt – this is considered the first time one did that in the middle of an American military Class.
On Sunday, when the Green Berets realized that a coup was underway, they drove straight to the United States embassy. in Conakry, and the training program was suspended, said Kelly Cahalan, a spokeswoman for the American Africa Command. The coup, she said, is “inconsistent” with U.S military training and education.”
US officials die tried to downplay the episode, initially emphasized that the base where the training took place took place used to be in Forécariah, a four-hour drive from the presidential palace, close to the border met guinea with Sierra Leone.
But on On Friday, US officials said they were investigating reports die Colonel Doumbouya and his fellow coups set off in an armed convoy from that same base requested on Sunday – raising the prospect of them slipping while their instructors slept.
“We do not have any information on how the apparent military heart attack of power occurred, and had no prior indication of this events”, Bardha S. Azari, also a spokeswoman for the US Africa Command, said: in an e-mail.
The coup in Guinea, the fourth military taking over in West Africa in 12 months, after two coups in Mali and a controversial succession in Chad, fueled worries of democratic setback in prone to coup region of Africa.
the inconvenience of US officials over their proximity for the coup plotters made worse by video images die circulate in past days die smiling american showing military officers in a crowd of happy Guineans on September 5, the day of the coup.
If four-wheeldrive vehicle with guinea pig soldiers settled down on the back pushes through the crowd as he scans “Freedom”, one American seems to touch hands with cheer people.
“If the Americans are involved” in the putsch, it’s because of their mining interests,” said Diapharou Baldé, a teacher in Conakry — a reference to Guinea’s huge deposits of gold, iron ore and bauxite, which is used to make aluminum.
US officials confirmed the video showed green berets die returned to the US embassy on Sunday, but implicitly denied it support for the coup. “The United States government and military are not involved in this apparent military heart attack of power in each way’ said Mrs Azari, the spokeswoman.
For many Guineans, the cameo was from the Americans role in the coup was just one element in a week of dizzying change driven by Colonel Doumbouya, 41, now the second-youngest leader of an African state.
The youngest is in neighboring Mali, where Colonel Assimi Goita came power nothing but in Can, also following a coup.
After an hour gun battle outside the presidential palace on Sunday in of which at least 11 people were killed, Guinean and Western officials said, Colonel Doumbouya appeared on state television wearing sunglasses and draped in The tricolor flag of Guinea.
He said he was forced to grab? power because of the actions of President Conde, a onetime campaign for democracy elected president in 2010 after a previous coup d’état paved the way for elections.
But Mr Condé’s legitimacy collapsed last year after he amended the constitution to give him in to enable the search for a third party term, which he won. After the election, over 400 politics opponents became in thrown into the filthy prisons of Guinea, where at least four died, Amnesty International said.
Images die circulated after the coup showed a confused Mr Condé, surrounded by… soldiers, sagged on An bank and looks downcast. Colonel Doumbouya has declined to say where he is being held, although envoys from West Africa main political and economic bloc met with Mr Conde on Friday and said he was in good Health.
The president has been deposed by an officer whose career he once blessed.
Colonel Doumbouya fired at public attention in October 2018 during parties for Guinea’s 60th Birthday of independence, when he paraded through the country’s newly formed Special Forces unit via the center of Conakry. Pictures of the parade went viral on guinea pig social media.
“People were very impressed with the choreography of the soldiers and synchronized movement of their vehicles”, said Issaka K. Souaré, director of the Sahel and West Africa program at the Stockholm International Peace Research Institute.
Mr Conde, in an interview from 2018, richly praised on the young officer — a fellow member of the Malinke tribe. Colonel Doumbouya, as a French legionnaire, served in Afghanistan and Ivory Coast and completed commando training in Israel, according to his official biography.
Married met a Frenchman military police officer, he is also a French citizen and graduate in defense studies at a university in Paris.
although public dissatisfaction with Mister Condé laid the foundation for the coup, it was also fueled by smoldering rivalry in guinea defense establishment, a western official and a analyst, who could not be identified because of the sensitivity of the case, said.
They said tensions were rising between Colonel Doumbouya and die from Guinea defense minister, Mohamed Diane. For fear of a putsch in the capital, Mr. Diané moved the Special Forces unit to the base in Forecaria.
Colonel Doumbouya publicly complained that his unit was starving of sources.
US officials have known Colonel Doumbouya since the start of to be rise. A picture posted on the October 2018 US Embassy Facebook page showed him standing with three American military civil servants outside the US embassy.
But on On Friday, US officials said they were surprised why he would choose to stage a coup at a time when he was working closely together with Americans.
It’s not the first time for coups in Africa has cast a shadow over American training programs on the continent. As insurgents marched through Mali’s northern desert in 2012, United States-trained commanders of the country’s elite army units ran over critical time, taking troops, trucks, weapons and their newfound skills to the enemy.
Declan Walsh reported from Nairobi, Kenya, and Eric Schmitt reported from Washington. Abdourahmane Diallo contributed from Conakry, Guinea, and Christiaan Triebert from New York.
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