By Ebi Kesiena
Guinea’s Justice Minister announced the closure of the nation’s borders after gunmen stormed the country’s main prison and freed former dictator Moussa Dadis Camara on Saturday.
The announcement by Justice Minister Charles Alphonse Wright came several hours after heavy gunfire erupted in the Kaloum district of the capital, Conakry.
Among the others who escaped were Claude Pivi and Blaise Goumou, who along with Camara had been detained on charges in connection with a 2009 stadium massacre that left 157 people dead.
Wright assured the public that efforts to locate the fugitives were underway and that those responsible would be held accountable. One of the escaped prisoners, Moussa Tiegboro Camara, has already been recaptured.
“We will find them. And those responsible will be held accountable,” Wright told local Radio Fim FM.
He added that a fourth prisoner, Moussa Tiegboro Camara, had already been captured.
Camara came to power in a 2008 coup d’etat following the death of longtime dictator Lansana Conte. Camara had lived for years in exile after surviving an assassination attempt by one of his bodyguards before returning home to Guinea in late 2021.
More than a dozen suspects were charged in connection with the 2009 massacre, when Guinean security forces fired upon peaceful demonstrators protesting against his intention to run for president after seizing power.
For years, Guinea’s government had sought to prevent Camara’s homecoming from exile in Burkina Faso, fearing it could stoke political instability. However, another coup in September 2021 put a military junta in power in Guinea that was more amenable to Camara’s return.
Camara testified in court last year that he was sleeping during the early hours of the attack, then awoken at 11 a.m. when he was told that demonstrators had been killed.