The military officer who seized power in Guinea this week said his superiors once refused to provide live ammunition to train his troops because they feared he might use it to stage a coup.
Colonel Mamady Doumbouya, who emerged Sunday as the head of the junta, recounted the incident that took place in 2016 while attending the elite Ecole de Guerre in Paris in 2017-18, according to a document dated 2017 on the French Defense Ministry’s website.
He criticized African leaders’ lack of trust in their own nations’ troops, and said French soldiers often enjoyed preferential treatment.
“For example, last year I requested ammunition to train my troops in marksmanship, but never received it because my leadership feared that I would use it to launch a coup,” Doumbouya said.
“On the other hand, the French who will come to provide training for us will immediately receive everything they need from our government.”
In addition to his tutelage in France, the 41-year-old trained in Israel and Senegal, according to Guinea’s Defense Ministry.
He also received training from the U.S. before being handpicked in 2018 by President Alpha Conde — whom Doumbouya deposed on Sept. 5 — to lead the nation’s elite military unit.
In 2019, Doumbouya participated in a U.S.-led military exercise known as Flintlock in Burkina Faso. He took part at the same time as Assimi Goita, the man who led a military coup that ousted Malian President Ibrahim Boubacar Keita in August 2020.
“Flintlock, for me was an opportunity to share experiences,” Doumbouya told Guinean online news site Guineenews in 2019. “We learnt from each other.”