By Kemo Cham
Guinea’s former junta leader, Moussa Dadis Camara, who was involved in an alleged prison break early Saturday, has been taken back into custody, according to his lawyer and reports.
Dadis, as the former head of state is fondly called, reportedly escaped from Conakry’s Central Prison in Coronthie around 5am after armed men allegedly stormed the heavily guarded facility.
Residents of Kaloum, the political and business district where the prison is located, reported heavy gun firing around the same time.
Dadis reportedly escaped alongside three former colleagues of his who served in the NCDD junta he led from 2008 to early 2010.
The other escapees were Colonel Moussa Tiegboro Camara, Colonel Blaise Goumou and Colonel Claude Pivi.
All three of them, with the exception of Colonel Pivi, have now been taken back into custody, according to sources and local media reports.
Colonel Pivi, whose son is said to have led the early morning raid on the maximum security prison, is still at an unknown location and he is being pursued by security forces.
A lawyer representing Dadis has alleged that the incident was a case of kidnapping, rather than an attempted escape.
“President Moussa Dadis Camara was kidnapped very early this morning by heavily armed individuals who forcefully took him in a vehicle to an unknown destination,” Pepe Antoine Lama, who is one of several lawyers representing the former junta leader in his ongoing trial, posted on his facebook page.
He urged the state to ensure the safety of his client whom, he claimed, is “currently at Conakry Central Prison where he has been arbitrarily held since September 27, 2022.
Dadis seized power in Guinea on December 24, 2008, following the sudden death of longer time leader President Lansana Conte. The former Captain ruled for a year, before he was shot in the head in an apparent assassination attempt.
Dadis and 10 other former military and government officials who served in his junta are accused of the killing of 156 people and the rape of at least 109 women in a Conakry Stadium on September 28, 2009. Their charges range from murder to sexual violence, kidnappings, arson and looting.
Dadis voluntarily returned home from exile in Burkina Faso in 2021 to face trial and “to clear” his name.
Kaloum, where all the accused are held, is the administrative center of the Guinean capital and it is home to very many important government institutions, notably the Presidential palace. The area is also a major business center.
There is heavy presence of armed security men in and around the district, with the November 8 Bridge, which strategically links Kaloum to the rest of Conakry, completely cordoned off.
The streets of the area are also reported to be deserted, as inhabitants remain indoors amid the uncertainty.