© AKUURA. 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
By Saliou Samb and Souleymane Camara
CONAKRY (AKUURA) -Guinea’s former military ruler, Moussa Dadis Camara, was sprung from prison by heavily armed men in the early hours of Saturday along with three other officers, the justice minister said, prompting a nationwide manhunt.
Soldiers patrolled the streets of the capital Conakry in armoured personnel carriers, as armed officers stopped and searched passing cars and set up makeshift road blocks with their vehicles.
Earlier residents described hearing the rattle of gunfire from the Kaloum administrative district, where Camara and the others were held at the Central House prison.
“It was around 0500 (0500 GMT) 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 including Captain Moussa Dadis Camara,” Minister Charles Wright said on the radio.
The jailbreak highlights the fragile security situation in Guinea, which is ruled by another military junta that seized power in a coup in 2021 – one of eight such takeovers in West and Central Africa in the last three years.
The minister said the escapees “will be found wherever they are,” declining to say more about the operation.
Guinea’s borders have been closed to prevent them fleeing the country, he said.
Camara and others have been on trial since last year, accused of orchestrating a stadium massacre and mass *** by Guinean security forces in which 150 people were killed during a pro-democracy rally on Sept. 28, 2009.
Camara has denied responsibility, blaming the atrocities on errant soldiers
By early afternoon on Saturday, the capital appeared calm.
“There was dread, anxiety stress … fear in our hearts. Everyone was scared and wondering what was going on,” said Conakry local Mamadou Aliou Tham, describing residents’ response to the early morning gunfire and security crackdown.
Camara led a 2008 military coup and ruled Africa’s largest bauxite exporter for almost a year until he was wounded in a December 2009 assassination attempt.
His reputation was tarnished by the massacre. Survivors and family members had hoped the trial would bring them long-awaited justice.
(writing by Alessandra Prentice; editing by Jason Neely, Alexandra Hudson (NYSE:) and Giles Elgood)