By Kemo Cham
The military-led government in Guinea has confirmed the escape of top ex-military officials in a prison break incident, following reports of a shootout near the maximum security prison in the capital, Conakry on Saturday.
Charles Write, the Minister of Justice and Human Rights, said former Junta leader Captain Moussa Dadis Camara was among four people who escaped after the Coronthie Central Prison in the district of Kaloum came under attack by unidentified armed men. But the Minister said that one of the escapees, Colonel Moussa Tiegboro Camara has been rearrested and is back in the detention facility.
“It was around 5am that heavily armed me attacked the Central Prison of Conakry,” Mr Wright disclosed on a popular live breakfast show, Mirador, broadcast on Fim FM.
Reports earlier said that a heavy exchange of gunfire erupted around the Central Prison in the early hours of the morning, which holds many famous inmates, among them ex-junta officials on trial for the massacre of Guinean civilians in November 2009.
Dadis was thought to have escaped with two of his allies – Colonel Claude Pivi, his former powerful Minister of Presidential Security, and Colonel Moussa Tiegboro Camara, former head of the Special Services in charge of the fight against drugs. But the Justice Minister said a fourth person, Col. Blaise Gomou, who was a member of the anti-drugs brigade, also escaped.
All four men are said to be among the main accused in the November 28 Massacre trial.
Dadis took power 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 returned home from exile in Burkina Faso in 2021 to face trial and “to clear” his name.
He and 10 other former military and government officials who served in his NCDD junta are accused of the killing of 156 people and the rape of at least 109 women in a Conakry Stadium on November 28, 2009. Their charges range from murder to sexual violence, kidnappings, arson and looting.
The trial has been a sensational event across Guinea.
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.