Nine dead in Guinea weekend jailbreak raid: prosecutorMon, 06 Nov 2023 09:44:03 GMT

At least nine people were killed during a weekend jailbreak in Guinea that saw armed commandos briefly pluck ex-dictator Moussa Dadis Camara from prison, officials said on Monday.Heavily armed men burst into the prison in the capital Conakry early on Saturday, taking Camara and three other former officials who were on trial alongside him over a 2009 massacre during his presidency.It was unclear whether Camara had escaped of his own free will in the raid, which the army described as an attempt to “sabotage” government reforms.Later on Saturday, the army and Camara’s lawyer said he had been recaptured and was back behind bars, without providing details on how he was recaptured.Two of the men seized alongside Camara were also returned to the prison, while a third, Claude Pivi, was still at large.On Monday, a statement from Prosecutor General Yamoussa Conte said that nine people had died as a result of the jailbreak commando operation, including three suspected attackers, four security forces and two people, presumed to be civilians, who had been in an ambulance.Press reports had said earlier that civilians inside an ambulance had been hit during an exchange of gunfire during the raid.Dadis Camara has been detained since going on trial in September 2022.He and about 10 other former military and government officials are accused over a 2009 massacre carried out by security forces loyal to the then junta leader.The killing of 156 people and the rape of at least 109 women started at a political rally in a Conakry stadium on September 28, 2009, and continued in the days that followed, according to a UN-mandated inquiry.Camara — who himself came to power in a coup in December 2008 — and his co-defendants are charged with murder, sexual violence, torture, abduction and kidnapping. They face life in prison if convicted.The trial is unprecedented in a country ruled for decades by authoritarian regimes, where people had become used to the impunity of the security forces.Guinea, a West African country of about 14 million people, has been led by a junta since Colonel Mamady Doumbouya stormed the presidential palace with soldiers and overthrew civilian president Alpha Conde in September 2021.