Guinea releases soldiers arrested in 2008 coup


Guinea’s ruling military junta released a dozen soldiers jailed for resisting a bloodless coup that brought it to power last year, a high-ranking police source told Reuters.

“The last of them were liberated last Tuesday. In total, there were about a dozen soldiers,” the source said.

The soldiers had been arrested in the wake of a coup Dec. 23, 2008 that brought the ruling CNDD government to power after the death of the West African nation’s strongman president Lansana Conte.

The political crisis in Guinea, the world’s largest bauxite exporter, has intensified after a bloody crackdown on protesters in September and a botched assassination attempt on junta leader Captain Moussa Dadis Camara this month that left him hospitalised in Morocco.

The junta’s No. 2, Defence Minister Sekouba Konate, left Guinea last Monday to visit Camara, who is getting treatment for a head injury he sustained during the Dec. 3 gun attack by former aide de camp Aboubacar Diakite.

Junta officials have said Camara’s injuries are not serious, but other sources have said his condition is grave.

Camara has drawn widespread international condemnation and sanctions for the crackdown Sept. 28 in which security forces killed more than 150 people, and for refusing to opt out of elections that had been set for January 2010.

Since his evacuation to Morocco, Konate has led a violent repression of rogue elements in the military and has been aggressively pursuing Diakite and his entourage.

Analysts are worried deepening chaos in Guinea could spread instability in a region still recovering from three civil wars earlier this decade.