Guinea: Purges in the Army After the Assault On the Conakry Prison and the Failed Escape of Former President Camara

Conakry — The situation in Conakry, capital of the Republic of Guinea, is tense.

At least nine people died in an attack on the central prison where former President Moussa Dadis Camara is imprisoned. The circumstances of the attack are still unclear. According to authorities, in the early hours of November 4, a group of armed men stormed the prison and then took away Camara and three other prisoners who, along with the former president, are accused of the September 28, 2009 massacres. Four of those who escaped were captured again by police shortly afterwards.

However, Claude Pivi, the military junta's former health minister, is still on the run. The nine victims who died in the attack include three suspected attackers, four members of the security forces and two occupants of an ambulance, the doctor on board and a six-year-old girl who was brought in by ambulance. According to some reports, a soldier shot at the ambulance that failed to stop at the stop sign. According to Camara's lawyer, however, it was not an attempt to escape, but his client claims that he was kidnapped from prison against his will by the men of the mysterious command. Authorities in Conakry, meanwhile, have dismissed from their posts three army commanders and 75 soldiers, gendarmes and prison officers suspected of complicity in the escape.

According to the government, videos show that soldiers from the Airborne Autonomous Battalion (Bata) opened the gate of the central building to allow the escape. The prison was placed under strict surveillance to prevent further escapes. The search for Claude Pivi, nicknamed "Coplan", continues. Meanwhile, his son Verny Pivi is suspected of playing a key role in the escape. Claude Pivi is a professional soldier who played a key role in the military apparatus of Moussa Dadis Camara, particularly in connection with the massacre of September 28, 2009. Claude Pivi was charged with murder, rape, torture and looting in 2013, but remained in custody until his arrest September 2022.

Camara, who took power after the coup d'état of December 23, 2008, following the death of Lansana Conté, and ten military and government officials are accused of the murders, acts of torture, rapes and kidnappings committed on September 28, 2009 and the following days by security forces in a stadium on the outskirts of Conakry, where tens of thousands of opposition supporters had gathered, and in the surrounding areas. According to the report of a United Nations commission of inquiry, at least 156 people were killed, hundreds were injured and at least 109 women were raped. Guinea is currently ruled by a military junta that came to power in a coup in September 2021 and overthrew President Alpha Condé.

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