Oldest Chimp From Renown Guinean Group Dies

The UNESCO World Heritage-listed Mount Nimba Strict Nature Reserve straddles Guinea’s borders with Liberia and Ivory Coast Kathelijne Koops Kathelijne Koops/AFP

 

 

Guinea’s oldest chimpanzee and one of the last members of a globally famous endangered community has died in solitude around the age of 71, the environment ministry said.

Fana, a female chimp born around 1951, was part of a troop that gained global fame for uncanny abilities to use tools.

The tiny community of apes lives in a forest around the village of Bossou, in the far southeastern corner of the country.

Scientists have trekked to the remote location for decades to study the chimps’ remarkable use of stone hammers and anvils to crack open nuts — the most sophisticated act ever observed of humanity’s genetically closest relative.

But Fana’s death brings the number of Bossou chimpanzees down to just six or seven.

Half are females, though two are no longer able to reproduce.

Fana had been showing signs of exhaustion over the past few months, the environment ministry said on Facebook Tuesday.

Her left upper limb has been paralysed since she took a bad fall nearly 25 years ago and she had long since stopped climbing trees.

She lived alone as she became less mobile.

Her body was found on September 19 and she was buried the next day in the presence of local villagers.

The Bossou apes have a unique relationship with the village population.

The great apes live in the wild but share the territory and its resources with the locals, who protect them, believing them to be reincarnated ancestors.

Up until 2003, the Bossou chimp group had been relatively stable at around 21 animals. But it lost seven members to the flu that year.

It has also been affected by human activities in the area.

Locals traditionally use slash-and-burn agriculture, and though they had preserved a 320-hectare block of forest around Bossou, surrounding deforestation has cut it off from the rest of the Mount Nimba Strict Nature Reserve, where there are more numerous chimp communities.

Slash-and-burn agriculture sees people cultivate lands until they become depleted, then clear forests to create new lands, and repeat the cycle.

The UNESCO World Heritage-listed reserve straddles Guinea’s borders with Liberia and Ivory Coast.

Fana leaves behind two sons, Foaf and Fanwa. She is predeceased by her daughter, Fotayou.

Guinean Ex-Dictator Jailed On Eve Of 2009 Massacre Trial

In this file picture taken on October 1, 2009, Guinea’s military ruler Captain Moussa Dadis Camara speaks at his office at the Alpha Yaya Diallo camp in Conakry. AFP

 

Former Guinean dictator Moussa Dadis Camara and several co-defendants were sent to prison Tuesday, a day before their trial opens for the 2009 stadium massacre, their lawyers said.

The prosecutor had “our six clients taken to the central house (prison) where they will apparently be held until the end of the (trial)”, Salifou Beavogui, one of the lawyers, told journalists outside the court.

“Very unfortunately, the trial is beginning with the violation of the defendants’ rights,” he said.

An AFP correspondent saw a minibus — surrounded by several pick-up trucks — speed away from the brand-new court built especially for the trial.

Captain Camara and 10 other former military and government officials are due to appear in court Wednesday at 10:00 am (local and GMT).

A handful of defendants have already been detained for years. Those who were still free were detained Tuesday after being summoned at around midday.

On September 28, 2009, and in the days that followed, security forces loyal to the then-junta leader slaughtered more than 150 people and raped at least 109 women at a political rally in a Conakry stadium, according to a report by a UN-mandated international commission.

The real figures are likely higher.

Tens of thousands of opposition supporters had gathered in the stadium to peacefully demonstrate against a possible election bid by Camara, who had come to power in a December 2008 coup before being sworn in as president.

Numerous testimonies report how the presidential guard’s Red Berets, police officers, and militiamen entered the stadium around noon, cordoned off the exits, and opened fire indiscriminately on a crowd that had previously been festive.

READ ALSO: Heavy Floods Ravage West Africa Farmlands

Waiting for a Trial

The killers attacked unarmed civilians with knives, machetes, and bayonets, leaving the stands, corridors, and grass strewn with the dead and dying.

They sexually assaulted and then killed many women. Others were trampled to death in the panic.

International investigators found the abuses could qualify as crimes against humanity, noting the brutality went on for several days against sequestered women and male detainees who were tortured.

On the eve of Wednesday’s trial, Amnesty International released a report calling for better protection for rape victims in Guinea and the “urgent” adoption of a comprehensive law on gender-based violence.

Camara, who had been living in exile in Burkina Faso, returned to Conakry on Saturday night to stand trial.

Relatives say he intends to “clear his name”.

The international commission has accused him of “personal criminal responsibility and command responsibility”.

Despite recurring commitments under former president Alpha Conde’s regime, victims and relatives have been waiting for the trial for 13 years.

Human rights defenders have also been pushing for justice, as well as the International Criminal Court.

Delays by those in power and the impunity for security forces that had become an “institution”, according to the commission, long cast doubt on the chances of a trial.

Then the head of the current military junta, Colonel Mamady Doumbouya, who came to power in a putsch in 2021 after 11 years of civilian rule, in July demanded the trial be held before the next anniversary date.

Victims’ groups hope the opening will not just be a show before the trial is adjourned.

AFP

15 Dead In Guinea Bus Crash

Guinea flag

Fifteen people died Thursday night in a mini-bus accident in central Guinea, local authorities said.

“A mini-bus full of passengers accompanying a body in Bissikirima, near Dabola (in central Guinea), overturned, killing 14 people on the spot,” Lieutenant Colonel Idrissa Camara, prefect of the nearby city of Kouroussa, said on Friday.

“A fifteenth victim died during his transfer to hospital,” he said.


READ ALSO: DR Congo Fuel Truck Blast Kills At Least 7


He said 11 bodies had been burned because a can of petrol inside the vehicle caught fire.

Five people were injured, three of them seriously, said an official of the Dabola transporters’ union.

They were taken to the regional hospital in Kankan, a health worker added.

Deadly road accidents are frequent in Guinea, often caused by careless driving and poor road and vehicle conditions. At least 30 people died in a multiple traffic accidents in early June.

Guinea Charges Five Over Protest Death

Guinea flag

 

 

Judicial authorities in Guinea have charged five members of the security forces after a young man was killed during a demonstration, a high-profile case that challenges the country’s ruling junta.

A chief warrant officer named Moriba Camara was charged with murder and held in custody, while four were charged with dereliction of duty for failing to prevent a suspected crime, prosecutor Alphonse Charles Wright said in a statement late Monday.

The charges came after Thierno Mamadou Diallo, 19, was shot dead on June 1 on the sidelines of a spontaneous demonstration in Conakry against rising fuel prices.

After seizing power last September, the military vowed to break with the practices of former president Alpha Conde.

Dozens of Guineans were shot dead in anti-Conde protests between 2019 and 2021.

The security forces had the reputation of enjoying impunity — the circumstances of these killings were often murky and investigations or charges were rare.

Wright has vowed to shed light on Diallo’s death. Last week he confirmed an account by relatives who said the young man had been in a shop when he was hit by a bullet.

ECOWAS Undecided On Sanctions Against Mali, Burkina Faso And Guinea

President Muhammadu Buhari participates at the 6th Extraordinary Session of the Authority of Heads of State and Government on the Political situations in Burkina Faso and the Republic of Guinea and Mali in Ghana on June 4, 2022. Bayo Omoboriowo/State House
President Muhammadu Buhari participates at the 6th Extraordinary Session of the Authority of Heads of State and Government on the Political situations in Burkina Faso and the Republic of Guinea and Mali in Ghana on June 4, 2022. Bayo Omoboriowo/State House

 

West African leaders on Saturday failed to agree what action to take against military juntas in Mali, Burkina Faso and Guinea, postponing a decision for a month, insiders at the meeting said.

They decided to wait until the next ECOWAS summit on July 3, a senior source in the Ghanian presidency told AFP, asking to remain anonymous.

Another source said the leaders had not been able to agree, “particularly over Mali”.

The summit in Ghana’s capital Accra had been billed as the forum to agree whether to ease or ramp up sanctions against the three junta-ruled nations facing jihadist insurgencies.

READ ALSO: Consider The People In Sanctions Against Coup Plotters, Buhari Tells ECOWAS Leaders

The Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) had met in a bid to rule whether to keep, lighten or lift retaliatory measures on Mali, imposed in January after its military regime announced plans to stay in power for another five years.

Ghana’s President Nana Akufo-Addo opened the summit, attended by the heads of state of most of the 15-member countries but without any representative from Mali, Burkina Faso or Guinea visible in the audience.

“This present summit will re-examine and assess the situations in Mali, Guinea and Burkina Faso in light of recent developments within the region and global context,” he said.

“Our objective has always been to find ways to help these countries return to constitutional order.”

Guinea, Burkina Faso and Mali are currently suspended from ECOWAS bodies.

While Mali has already been slapped with sanctions, the other two countries risk further punitive measures from the bloc after ruling juntas in their respective capitals vowed to hold onto power for another three years.

West Africa has seen a succession of military coups in less than two years — two in Bamako, followed by Conakry in September 2021 and Ouagadougou in January.

Insurgency

ECOWAS, keen to limit political instability spreading further, has held summits and tried to pile on pressure to shorten the juntas’ so-called transition periods before a return to civilian rule.

But strongmen Colonel Assimi Goita in Mali, Colonel Mamady Doumbouya in Guinea and Lieutenant-Colonel Paul-Henri Sandaogo Damiba in Burkina Faso, have all resisted that pressure and since been sworn in as presidents.

They invoke the severity of domestic crises — that span jihadist insurgency to social problems — and claim they need time to rebuild their states and organise elections.

A UN report published last week said the West African sanctions had contributed to worsening living conditions, particularly for the poor.

One of the most volatile and impoverished countries in the world, Mali is battling a decade-old jihadist revolt, which began with a regional insurrection and then spread to Niger and Burkina Faso.

ECOWAS closed borders and suspended trade and financial exchanges, except for basic necessities.

In Guinea, the military overthrew president Alpha Conde in September and has vowed a return to civilian rule in three years.

Burkina Faso’s government was overthrown in January, when disgruntled colonels ousted elected president Roch Marc Christian Kabore.

AFP

Consider The People In Sanctions Against Coup Plotters, Buhari Tells ECOWAS Leaders

President Muhammadu Buhari participates at the 6th Extraordinary Session of the Authority of Heads of State and Government on the Political situations in Burkina Faso and the Republic of Guinea and Mali in Ghana on June 4, 2022. Bayo Omoboriowo/State House
President Muhammadu Buhari participates at the 6th Extraordinary Session of the Authority of Heads of State and Government on the Political situations in Burkina Faso and the Republic of Guinea and Mali in Ghana on June 4, 2022. Bayo Omoboriowo/State House

 

President Muhammadu Buhari says any decision to be taken by ECOWAS leaders on the political situations in Burkina Faso, Mali and Guinea must consider the victims of unconstitutional changes of government and the adverse consequences of isolation on them.

The President spoke on Saturday in Accra, Ghana at the 6th Extraordinary Session of the Authority of Heads of State on the political situations in the three countries.

According to a statement signed by presidential spokesperson Femi Adesina, the President expressed concern that since the last Summit of ECOWAS leaders on March 25 this year, not much has been achieved in terms of having an acceptable time table for the conduct of elections to restore democratic rule in the affected countries.

READ ALSO: I Did Not Disrespect Buhari In Abeokuta, I Have High Regard For Him – Tinubu

He noted that although the military leadership in Burkina Faso has released President Kabore in line with the request by ECOWAS leaders , further measures must be taken to ensure his safety and full freedom.

President Buhari warned that the security situation in both Mali and Burkina Faso has reached alarming levels with incessant attacks by extremist groups on the civilian populace and military facilities, aggravating the humanitarian condition in the two countries.

‘‘The deterioration of the humanitarian situation in Mali and Burkina Faso should be a source of serious concern to us as leaders in the region. As you may be aware, the world is still recovering from the effect of the COVID-19 pandemic, which wrecked the global economy.

‘‘While our economies begin to recover, the impact of the war between Russia and Ukraine has led to a surge in prices of many commodities including foodstuffs.

‘‘We are, therefore, left with no option but to devise means of sustaining our economies by becoming more creative and evolving in finding other channels of demand and supply, in order to ensure that we cushion the effect of the war and prevent our economies from collapsing, and our people remain productive.

‘‘We must, therefore, ensure that, in whatever decision we take, we must remember the mass of the populations in the affected countries, who are victims of the unconstitutional change of government and the adverse consequences of isolation brought about,’’ he said.

To this end, the Nigerian leader called on the Authority to revisit the report presented by former President Goodluck Jonathan, the ECOWAS Mediator on Mali, on a transition timetable for the West African country.

President Buhari noted that Jonathan had recommended 16 months transitional timeframe ‘‘as well as his further personal appeal and observation to us to give the military leadership in Mali up to 18 months for the conduct of election, starting from March 2022.’’

‘‘Furthermore, Nigeria is also calling on the Authority to consider the proposal earlier made for the Chair to personally visit Bamako and present this proposal. Nigeria equally welcomes the magnanimous offer by President Macky Sall, Chair of the Assembly of African Union to accompany H.E. President Nana Addo to Bamako for the purpose.

‘‘From our findings, we are certain that the high-level visit proposed would be welcomed by the military leadership and would achieve the needed consensus. At the same time, the region must be ready to provide the needed support to Mali to return to democratic rule as soon as possible.’’

On the situation in Guinea and Burkina Faso, President Buhari expressed concern that, till date, their proposed timeframes are not in tandem with the expectations of the regional leaders as well as their respective citizens.

He urged the military authorities in Burkina Faso and Guinea to renew their determination and immediately provide acceptable timeframes for the return to democracy in their respective countries.

He announced that Nigeria fully supports any action, including imposition of further sanctions that the Authority may adopt to compel the military leaderships in the two countries to submit an acceptable electoral timetable.

‘‘Nevertheless, there is need for ECOWAS to continue to engage the military leaderships and key stakeholders in Burkina Faso and Guinea in order to reach an agreeable understanding, especially on the transition timeframes,’’ he said.

Earlier, the Chairperson of the Authority and President of Ghana, Nana Akufo-Addo, thanked his counterparts for their strong commitment to democracy, peace and stability in the region and for staying focused on the situation in the countries.

President Akufo-Addo, who acknowledged the presence of African Union Commission Chairperson, Moussa Faki Mahamat, said the Summit hopes to find lasting solutions to political instability and the resurgence of coup d’états in the region since August 2020.

Guinea Junta To Prosecute Ousted President For Murder

A file photo of Alpha Conde.

 

Guinea said Wednesday it would prosecute former president Alpha Conde, who was toppled in a military coup last September, for murder and other crimes committed during his time in office.

Conde is among 27 former senior officials who face prosecution for “murder, assassination, and complicity,” according to a document given to journalists by prosecutor Alphonse Charles Wright.

Other alleged crimes include detention, torture, kidnapping, disappearances, rape, and other sexual abuse and looting.

The list of names includes a former president of the constitutional court, ex-speakers of parliament, a former prime minister, and many former ministers, legislators, and heads of the security services.

In a message to AFP, Wright, who was appointed by the junta, said the prosecution was launched following a complaint filed in January by the National Front for the Defence of the Constitution (FNDC), an umbrella group that had spearheaded protests against Conde.

READ ALSO: UN Chief Urges Swift Return To Civilian Rule In Burkina Faso, Guinea, Mali

The documents given to journalists appear to focus on alleged crimes committed in the last two years of Conde’s presidency.

Conde, today aged 84, was ousted by mutinous soldiers amid anger at his successful bid for a third term.

In 2010 he had become the first democratically elected president in the history of the West African country.

But his popularity dived in his second term as critics accused him of authoritarianism, and opposition protests were violently repressed. Dozens died, the overwhelming majority of them civilians.

Tension escalated bloodily in the runup to elections in October 2020.

The vote, boycotted by most of the opposition, followed a controversial referendum on constitutional change months earlier.

Critics said that Conde was limited to two terms in office, but he argued that the change to the constitution meant that the clock had been reset to zero.

He was deposed on September 5, 2021, by army officers led by Colonel Mamady Doumbouya, a former special forces commander.

Doumbouya has since been sworn in as interim president and implemented a crackdown on alleged corruption by the former regime.

Those being held in custody include former prime minister Ibrahima Kassory Fofana, former parliament speaker Amadou Damaro Camara, and ex-electoral chief Louceny Camara.

Conde Question

Conde’s future became a major issue between the junta and the regional bloc ECOWAS after the coup.

He was initially detained and then allowed to go to the United Arab Emirates for medical treatment in January, returning home on April 10.

On April 22, the junta declared it was informing “national and international opinion that the former president of the republic is finally free” — an assertion contested by Conde’s Rally of the Guinean People (RPG) party.

Mineral-rich but deeply poor and saddled with a reputation for corruption, Guinea has enjoyed few periods of stability since gaining independence from France in 1958.

Many Guineans initially welcomed the coup but there is growing discontent in the nation of 13 million people.

On April 30, Doumbouya said he planned to restore civilian rule in 39 months — a timeline that dismayed those clamouring for earlier elections.

AFP

UN Chief Urges Swift Return To Civilian Rule In Burkina Faso, Guinea, Mali

In this file photo taken on February 4, 2020 United Nations Secretary General Antonio Guterres speaks during a press briefing at United Nations Headquarters in New York City. \ (Photo by Angela Weiss / AFP)

 

UN chief Antonio Guterres called Sunday for the military juntas in Burkina Faso, Guinea and Mali to hand power back to civilians as soon as possible and reminded the world to deliver on “climate emergency” promises.

Speaking after meeting Senegalese President Macky Sall in Dakar, he said they had agreed on the need to keep talking to the de facto authorities in all three countries so as to get a swift return to “constitutional order”.

All three countries, struggling with a jihadist insurgency in the Sahel region, have recently experienced military coups: Mali in August 2020 and May 2021; Guinea in September 2021; and Burkina Faso in January 2022.

Sall is the current chair of the West African bloc ECOWAS, which has suspended all three countries from its membership.

ECOWAS imposed heavy sanctions against Mali in January after the regime there rejected a rapid return to civilian rule.

It has threatened similar sanctions against Guinea and Burkina Faso if they fail to enable a swift transition to civilian rule within a “reasonable” timeframe.

But the military regimes in both countries rejected the timetable set out by ECOWAS.

Last Monday, Ouagadougou said they had no plans to shorten the three-year transition period they had already announced.

And on Saturday evening, Guinea’s junta leader Colonel Mamady Doumbouya said he had opted for a 39-month transition period to civilian rule.

The decision was roundly condemned Sunday by opposition leaders in Guinea, including both the party of the ousted president Alpha Conde and opposition groups that had opposed him.

The regime in Mali is also continuing to defy ECOWAS pressure.

On April 21 it announced the launch of a two-year transition “process” before elections are held.

ECOWAS had called for elections within 16 months at the most.

– Triple crisis –

Turning to the issue of global warming, Guterres said “the climate emergency… increases the security risk”.

African countries, he said, were “often the first victims” of global warming for which they are “not responsible”.

Developed countries had pledged to help the countries of the south to finance their “transition towards renewable energies and green jobs”, he noted.

“It’s time to take action. It’s time to keep the promise of 100 billion dollars a year made in Paris,” he said, referring to national pledges under the 2015 Paris Agreement aimed at capping global warming below two degrees Celsius.

In Dakar, Guterres visited the site of the future headquarters of the UN’s regional operations as well as a manufacturing unit soon to produce Covid-19 vaccines and also experimental anti-malaria and tuberculosis vaccines.

Guterres also addressed the consequences of the war in Ukraine on Africa, where he said the conflict “aggravates a triple crisis: food, energy and financial”.

To enable the countries of the continent to cope, Guterres urged once again international financial institutions to put in place “urgently… debt relief measures… so that governments can avoid default and invest in social safety nets and sustainable development for their people”.

Junta Releases Former Guinea President Conde 

A screengrab taken from footage sent to AFP by a military source on September 5, 2021, shows the President of Guinea Conakry Alpha Conde after he was captured by army putschists during a coup d’etat in Conakry on September 5, 2021. MILITARY SOURCE / AFP

 

Guinea’s ousted president Alpha Conde is “finally free” and can receive visitors, the junta who overthrew him has said.

Conde became Guinea’s first democratically elected president in 2010, but the 84-year-old was deposed by army officers last year and replaced by Colonel Mamady Doumbouya.

He was allowed to go to the United Arab Emirates for medical treatment in January, coming back to Guinea on April 10.

His party, Rally of the Guinean People (RPG) has said that he was not truly free before or after his trip, and demanded his “total and unconditional freedom,”.

To back up its call, the RPG suspended its participation at a junta-organised national reconciliation conference in protest at his detention.

READ ALSO: Guinean Ex-Ministers Held In Corruption Crackdown

A statement by the junta published late Friday said that Doumbouya “informs national and international opinion that the former president of the republic is finally free”.

“While continuing to benefit from adequate protection, he can receive on demand members of his biological and political family, friends, and close ones,” it said.

The statement said Conde will stay at his wife’s house in the capital Conakry until his own private house is constructed in the suburb of Kipe.

“The dignity and integrality of professor Alpha Conde will always be preserved,” the statement said.

The coup followed fierce protests over Conde’s successful bid for a third term in office — which critics said breached the constitution.

Doumbouya, who has been sworn in as interim president, has promised to restore civilian rule but resisted international pressure to commit to a date.

AFP

Guinean Ex-Ministers Held In Corruption Crackdown

Guinea Map

 

Two former ministers in the West African state of Guinea are being held under an anti-corruption drive launched by the military junta, one of their lawyers said.

Albert Damantang Camara, a former security minister under ousted president Alpha Conde, and Ibrahima Kourouma, an ex-housing minister, were ordered on Thursday to be held in custody by a special court for financial crimes, he said.

A former economy minister under Conde, Mamadi Camara, has also been formally placed under judicial investigation, said the attorney, Amara Bangoura.

They were questioned on Wednesday and Thursday by investigators for the CRIEF special court set up by the junta which toppled Conde last September.

They are being prosecuted for “embezzlement and complicity in embezzlement of public funds, illicit self-enrichment, corruption and laundering,” Bangoura told AFP.

The move marks a further escalation of an anti-graft crackdown launched by Colonel Mamady Doumbouya, a former special forces commander who heads the ruling junta.

Others in detention are former prime minister Ibrahima Kassory Fofana; former defence minister Mohamed Diane; former environment minister Oye Guilavogui; and former oil and gas minister Zakaria Coulibaly. They were ordered held on April 6.

Conde, 84, was forced out by mutinous troops amid fierce protests over his successful bid for a third term.

In 2010 he became the first democratically-elected president in the country’s history. But his popularity dived in his second term as critics accused him of authoritarianism.

The authorities last month razed the house of former prime minister Cellou Dalein Diallo, a three-time presidential candidate, saying it was state property that was obtained illicitly.

Guinea’s Ousted Ex-President Returns After Treatment Abroad

President Alpha Condé arrives at the African Union headquarters in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia. (Michael Tewelde/AFP)

 

 

Guinea’s ousted ex-president Alpha Conde returned to the country Friday after a trip to the United Arab Emirates for medical treatment, the ruling junta said.

Conde “returned to Conakry this afternoon after medical treatment in the United Arab Emirates,” according to a junta statement read on television.

Conde became Guinea’s first democratically elected president in 2010.

But the 84-year-old was deposed by army officers last year and replaced by Colonel Mamady Doumbouya.

The coup followed fierce protests over Conde’s successful bid for a third term in office — a plan critics said breached the constitution.

He was then allowed to leave Guinea for the UAE in January. His release was one of the demands made by the West Africa bloc ECOWAS after the coup.

The junta was reportedly reluctant to let him go abroad for fear of potential plots against their newly established rule.

“The former president will remain in Guinea as long as his health permits. His integrity and dignity will always be respected in accordance with his rank and status,” the National Rallying Committee for Development (CNRD), the junta’s governing body, said in Friday’s statement.

But Conde’s Rally of the People of Guinea (RPG) party condemned the junta for “arbitrary actions” against him and his former administration.

On Wednesday, former Guinean prime minister Kassory Fofana and three ex-ministers who served under Conde were detained on embezzlement charges, in the latest probe targeting prominent figures since last year’s military coup.

Guinea Ex-PM, Three Ministers Held For Alleged Embezzlement

In this file photo taken on February 27, 2013, the leader of the opposition party Ibrahima Kassory Fofana, takes part in demonstrations to demand transparency in elections scheduled for May 12 and protest against the South African company selected to revise the electoral roll in Conakry. CELLOU BINANI / AFP

 

A former Guinean prime minister and three ex-ministers were detained on embezzlement charges Wednesday, one of their lawyers said, in the latest probe targeting prominent figures since last year’s military coup.

Guinea’s military junta, led by Colonel Mamady Doumbouya, deposed elected president Alpha Conde at age 83 amid fierce protests over his successful bid for a third term.

After seizing power last year, the junta promised to combat endemic corruption in the West African state.

It also stressed that it would not launch a witch hunt.

On Wednesday, a lawyer acting for Ibrahima Kassory Fofana, who served as prime minister under Conde from May 2018 until the coup, said the politician had been detained.

READ ALSO: Court Upholds 25-Year Sentence For ‘Hotel Rwanda’ Hero

Former defence minister Mohamed Diane, ex-environment minister Oye Guilavogui and former hydrocarbons minister Zakaria Coulibaly were also held, according to attorney Salifou Beavogui.

The four “have been charged with embezzling public funds,” said Beavogui, adding that they are expected to go on trial on Monday.

“We believe that they do not deserve to be in custody as, pending evidence to the contrary, they have the right to the presumption of innocence. We are dealing with a hasty and punitive procedure,” he said.

The four were ordered to be held after being cross-examined for three days. The details of their alleged offences have not been made public.

The detentions come amid a crackdown on alleged graft by coup leader Doumbouya.

Crackdown 

The authorities last month razed the house of former prime minister Cellou Dalein Diallo, a three-time presidential candidate, saying it was state property that was obtained illicitly.

Diallo is also being investigated for alleged self-enrichment over the sale of assets in 2002 of the country’s bankrupt airline, Air Guinea.

As part of the crackdown against alleged graft, the junta has set up a special court for dealing with corruption cases.

It has also expelled numerous executives from the state services as part of its anti-graft drive, with former members of Conde’s RPG party coming under pressure as well.

The former prime minister and three ex-ministers — who are all RPG members — appeared before the corruption court on Wednesday, according to an AFP journalist.

Gendarmes subsequently escorted them to a prison in the capital Conakry.

Doumbouya has promised to restore civilian rule in Guinea. However, he also swore himself in as interim president and refused to commit to a date for elections.

Many Guineans initially welcomed the coup, but there is growing discontent with the junta in the impoverished nation of 13 million people.

On March 22, Doumbouya launched a six-week conference designed to heal historic wounds in the country, which has a history of authoritarian rule.

Prominent political groups, including a coalition that led protests against Conde, are boycotting the talks.

The RPG said in a statement it had “full confidence in the justice system of our country, despite actions that resemble a targeted attack”.

AFP