Armed men free Guinea’s ex-junta leader from prison

The former head of Guinea’s 2008 military junta, Moussa Camara has been taken from prison by heavily armed men in Conakry in the early hours of Saturday.

It was learnt that two other high ranking officials, currently on trial alongside Camara over a 2009 massacre during his reign, were also taken from the central prison.

Residents disclosed that military vehicles and special forces were policing the streets of the Guinean capital after shots were heard in the Kaloum administrative district, where Camara and others were held at the Central House prison.

Guinean security forces patrol on the streets after armed men spring Guinea's ex-junta leader Moussa Dadis Camara out of prison in Conakry
A convoy of Guinean security forces patrol a street, after former head of Guinea’s 2008 military junta, Moussa Dadis Camara, was sprung from prison by heavily armed men in Conakry in the early hours of Saturday along with three other high-ranking officers, in Conakry, Guinea November 4, 2023.

“It was around 4:00 am that heavily armed men burst into the Central House of Conakry. They managed to leave with four defendants in the trial of the events of Sept. 28 2009 including Captain Camara.

“They will be found wherever they are”, the minister said on the radio declining to give further details of the investigation.

He added that Guinea’s borders have been closed to prevent the escapees fleeing the country.

Residents near Kaloum said shots were first heard around 4 a.m. local time after which security was tightened on the streets and the entrance to Kaloum was blocked.

By late morning, the capital appeared calm with many soldiers still visible in some areas, ordering people to stay at home, Mmah Camara, a resident of the Tombo district said.

Mamady Doumbouya, a military leader, took over Guinea in a coup in 2021, one of eight that have occurred in West and Central Africa in the previous three years. Military officers also lead Gabon, Chad, Niger, Burkina Faso, and Mali.

Since last year, Camara and other defendants have been on trial on charges of planning a stadium massacre and mass rape by Guinean security forces on September 28, 2009, during which 150 people were killed during a pro-democracy rally.

Camara has rejected accountability, attributing the crimes to errant soldiers.


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