COUP D’ÉTAT IN GUINEA : A former guard of Alpha Condé speaks: “How the Sékoutoureya Palace was attacked …”

AFRICAGUINEE.COM: You were in the grounds of the Sékoutoureya Palace when the first shots started ringing out on Sunday September 5th. Can you tell us what really happened?
M.M. Survivor: In reality, we still wonder how they (the special forces, editor’s note) got into the Presidency. We who were on guard inside the palace still wonder. They ended up inside without there being any fighting outside, in the night between 2 a.m. and 4 a.m. The way things turned out, it looked like they were settled in the Palace. Because the surveillance cameras showed no one, no movement, from where I was installed. I specify that no movement is allowed on the belt of the Palace.
All to prevent someone from approaching it. Then no vehicles were seen around that night. Besides, there are guards posted everywhere. But you have to see one thing to resist or to pull. All the compartments of the building that they passed through to find themselves upstairs, no trace or movement was detected. And when they started to act there was no way to resist so they were ready and quick. I don’t know if there will be anyone among us who can explain how these people ended up in the building quietly. Maybe they can do it one day. No shots were heard from 2 a.m. until the early hours of the morning. Yet bullets hit us.
However, the shots were heard in Kaloum and in several surrounding neighborhoods …
In fact, I’m telling you that the actual attack took place between 2 a.m. and 4 a.m. inside the palace. They managed to neutralize everyone in it with confidence. The shots heard, it was in the morning, it was already 7 or 8 a.m. It was already daylight. When gunfire was heard around the palace, they had already finished. It took the morning for our colleagues who were not on duty to realize that the Palace had been attacked. They had taken a stand everywhere. It’s as if they started inside the palace and ended up outside, in the courtyard to the sentries. Those who had taken up positions in the building were not numerous. Their operation was not done from the bottom up, but from the top down. Yet each was at his post. Which implies that they managed to merge between us civil and military guards at one point. I, for example, was in the large living room at the main entrance. This is where people go to enter, if at least they are coming from outside. Other access is for internal staff. From where I was, the enemy came from behind they neutralized from the floor to the ground floor where I was. Then the positions in the yard. One wonders by what miracle they found themselves from inside.
Before they got to your level, didn’t you hear noises or screams behind you or somewhere in the building that might have made you check?
No noise, in fact if you are on duty, you are given a perimeter to watch. I just felt something warm on one of my arms, by the time it was time to check what it was, it was my shoulder that was still touched on the leg afterwards. I try to get up, impossible I fall to the ground. I hear someone say behind me: the way is free, obstacle cleared, the voice is free. I didn’t have my gun in my hand, it was sitting next to it. I unconsciously try to take a position to watch the movement. I saw a dozen men going up and down the stairs, I saw an unconscious man lying on the steps too. A man came up to me to pick up my gun. I didn’t know they had finished their surgery upstairs.
How many guards were in the palace on the night of the attack?
I can’t know it, because everyone only manages their hallway, the rest you can’t know. We ourselves are forbidden to move without prior authorization. We stayed in this position until the early hours of the morning. I could not imagine that many of our colleagues were killed because things happened when no one expected it. There wasn’t an alert too. Usually at certain times we are put on alert. When the intelligence services gather information. It didn’t this time around. It was in the morning that the attackers brought down injured colleagues to tell them to use their phones to reach the guards at home and some of our officials and tell them there is a meeting to come. They said they told others directly that there was an attack. Before those arrived, those who received information that there had been an attack at the palace, before they came, called for reinforcements. In fact, our direct reinforcements in the event of a difficult situation are the special forces. Besides, this is the last resort.
Eventually, the reinforcements we called in kind of went straight into the mouth of the wolf. They did not know that those who attacked us spent the night with us. The attackers came with all their artillery, including armored vehicles, to surround the palace and all of Kaloum. The few presidential agents who remained outside upon seeing them thought they were saved. They believed reinforcements were coming. But they are the same ones who neutralized the rest of the guard and blocked the tracks of the Samory and Makambo camps which are a few minutes drive from the Palace. It was with the arrival of these people that the crackling of bullets began. In the meantime our friends called on the phone came straight into the mouth of the wolf. They were in turn neutralized.
You played dead to follow the scene in the building. How did you realize what was going on outside with the arrival of the column of special forces armored vehicles?
I picked up the explanations of the men who were already with us in the building. They were already savoring their victory after blurring all the lines after the attack. They were telling each other over the phone that the situation is under control. It’s as if reassuring a hierarchy that the special forces have taken over the enemy. In the meantime, men armed to the teeth entered the Palace, congratulating those who were there. The latter informed them that the others are upstairs with the package (The President, Editor’s note).
When the vehicles got outside we realized with the gunfire that there were no more obstacles. Some men, armed to the teeth, who were of the arriving troops, entered the building to congratulate the night shift which did the job. In their explanations between them, I understood the stunt. After the house work, the others should come as reinforcements. But it was a facade reinforcement just to complete their mission. It was there that I realized that those who came are the sponsors of the mission. I caught that from their interview when they were savoring their success. Those of the interior also explained that those who had weapons in hand are eliminated and that the others who did not have weapons were just neutralized This is also where I understood why I was not killed on the spot.
When they talked about the packages, you had cracked that code to know that it pointed to the overthrown President Alpha Condé?
No ! No !
Did you see President Alpha Condé before the attack?
No ! I am far from the close guard. I don’t see him often except on certain occasions to meet or go out. So the last Saturday I didn’t see him. We are responsible for the security of the building, not for the president. I am not allowed to go upstairs, my job is downstairs.
Did you recognize some of them as the attackers of the Palace?
I didn’t recognize anyone, they were all hooded, they didn’t last too, they quickly picked up the bodies to send them I don’t know where. We, the wounded, were sent to Samory camp for treatment. In the vehicle that transported me, we were just 4 injured for a start. Where we were admitted some time later, they sent other wounded. I recognized some faces of our friends who weren’t on duty that day but who came over after phone calls. Some couldn’t take it, they died. Their bodies were sent elsewhere. As it was overflowing, they told us that everyone could also go wherever they want for their care. This is how I left with the support of a friend for the clinic where I am now.
Did you witness the exfiltration of President Alpha Condé from the Sékoutoureya Palace?
There I did not see, I followed it on social media Wednesday through the phone of a relative who had come to visit me in the hospital. I don’t know if the president left the palace before us or if we left first.
Do you know how many deaths there were in all during these clashes?
There were no clashes in it. It was a very strong team that came to neutralize a weaker one. There was slight resistance outside when some of our friends came, it was already 10am. Some took bullets, their bodies were picked up for taxes as I was whispered in my ear, others fled because the enemy had the advantage of having occupied all the strategic positions before. On the death toll, I don’t know at the moment. Everyone puts forward figures on their own. It’s not easy to know, because some died on the spot, others succumbed to their injuries. All this complicates the count.
And on the side of the Special Forces Group, how many victims were there?
Officially no. I learned that there would have been a death on their side, true or false I don’t know. Or if there is more, I don’t know.

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