A sensational coup d’etat in the west African nation of Guinea was led by Lieutenant Colonel Mamady Doumbouya, head of the army’s Special Forces Group. So what is known about the man who turned on his boss, President Alpha Condé?
A Malinke from the Kankan border region near Côte d’Ivoire and Mali, Doumbouya first became known to Guineans in 2018 when he appeared at a military parade in Conakry to celebrate the country’s 60th independence anniversary.
He was put in charge of the newly formed SFG elite team – whose remit was to fight terrorism and maritime piracy. Wearing red berets, sunglasses and striking uniforms, they made a strong public impression.
The Lieutenant Colonel’s problems with Conakry’s leadership reportedly began when he was prevented from giving the SFG autonomy from the Ministry of Defence.
Mamady Doumbouya, 41, was in the French Foreign Legion, where he rose to the rank of master corporal before being called to command the SFG.
A graduate from the École de Guerre war college in Paris, he has more than 15 years of military experience that include missions to Cote d’Ivoire, Djibouti, the Central African Republic, Afghanistan and elsewhere.
Doumbouya is an expert in defence management, command and strategy – having also undergone specialist training in Israel, Senegal and Gabon.
According to the Guinean press, Major Mamady Doumbouya has successfully completed the Operational Protection Specialist Training at the International Security Academy (Israel), the Unit Commanders Training Course at the Ecole d’application de l’infanterie (EAI – Senegal), the Staff Officer Training Course (EEML Libreville) and the Ecole de Guerre de Paris.
But his setbacks with Conakry began in October 2018 with his desire to empower the GPS from the Ministry of Defense. This had aroused mistrust of the power of Conakry. In May, unfounded rumors of his possible arrest had even circulated in the Guinean capital.
A “product” of Alpha Condé