A Guinean army unit seized control of the country Sunday and announced it had deposed President Alpha Conde. The soldiers expressed frustration over widespread poverty and corruption in Guinea. After Conde’s first win in 2010, citizens hoped he would bring stability to Guinea, which had suffered decades of rampant corruption. Tensions peaked last year when the 83-year-old president changed the constitution to allow himself to seek a third term. After he won, violent demonstrations erupted across the country. David Zoumenou is a senior research consultant with the Institute of Security Studies in Dakar and Pretoria. “That really created heavy tension. You have civil society organizations, you have other political forces, contesting his decision, contesting his elections,” Zoumenou said. “But the military was on his side, able to quell the demands of the people. So the ground was almost leveled for political instability to lead to what we are observing now in Guinea.” While many civilians were seen celebrating the coup, international actors, including the U.S., France and U.N. Secretary-General Antonio Guterres condemned the seizure of power. Political analysts worry the events are representative of a larger trend. In recent years countries throughout West Africa have witnessed a surge in unconstitutional third-term bids as well as a rise in coups.
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