Witnesses have said that a significant outburst of gunfire took place on Saturday in the central area of Conakry, the capital of Guinea, resulting in the swift blockade of the vicinity by security forces.
The rationale for the sustained gunfire remained unclear in this West African country, where Colonel Mamady Doumbouya has been at the helm since September 2021, following his takeover in a coup that terminated 11 years of civilian rule.
‘There is gunfire from both automatic and weapons of war in Kaloum,’ the political and administrative heart of the seaside city, a witness from the area said, speaking on condition of anonymity.
‘The city centre has been sealed since dawn, we can neither enter, nor leave,” a shopkeeper added, also speaking on condition of anonymity.’
‘I wanted to go to the port area where I work but was prevented from leaving (Kaloum), where armoured vehicles have been deployed’.
According to multiple witnesses, the streets were deserted, and armored vehicles were strategically positioned at various locations, as reported.
Situated on a peninsula, Kaloum is home to the presidency, numerous high-ranking government and administrative offices, the military headquarters, and the primary detention facility.
Multiple witnesses attested that the firing took place near the prison and the 8 Novembre bridge, the singular pathway leading to the heart of the city.
A source at the airport disclosed that no flights took off from Conakry’s international airport on Saturday morning as the air traffic staff were unable to commute from Kaloum.
Since 2020, Guinea has been listed among several countries to witness coups, including Mali, Burkina Faso, and this year, Niger and Gabon.
The recent escalation of unrest in Conakry coincides with Guinea’s ongoing trial of former dictator Moussa Dadis Camara, who has been held in the center of the capital since the hearings began in September last year.
Camara and 10 other former military and government officials are being implicated in connection with a 2009 massacre carried out by security forces that were faithful to the former junta leader.
As per a UN-mandated investigation, the killing of 156 people and the rape of a minimum of 109 women initiated at a political rally in a Conakry stadium on September 28, 2009, and persisted over the subsequent days.
Camara, who took power through a coup in December 2008, and his co-defendants are being accused of murder, sexual violence, torture, abduction, and kidnapping.
They could be sentenced to life in prison if they are found guilty.