Guinea Army Officers Close to Former Military Junta Leader, Camara, Arrested
Abuse of funds a link to Guinea arrests
Conakry – The leader of Guinea’s army, Colonel Nouhou Thiam, has stated that about a dozen army officers arrested since Friday must account for their use of funds and clarify “opaque management”.
Thiam, the chief of general staff, told AFP and Radio France Internationale (RFI), in an interview late on Sunday that the wave of “arrests has nothing to do with politics” in the west African country.
He said that the senior officers arrested in recent days, who are all close to absent junta leader Moussa Dadis Camara, need to “clarify a certain number of money management issues we find opaque”.
“You know, when you’re managing the funds of others, you have to keep and show accounts,” he added. “In the Guinean army, we grew used to embezzlement, we have accused our elders of financial mismanagement, and now that transparency rules, we need to show accounts.”
The officers arrested include the former chief of general staff, Colonel Oumar Sanoh, and his deputy, Colonel Abdoulaye Keita.
Since their arrests, no reasons have been given to them, said one of the detainees, reached by telephone.
On Sunday, Colonel Mamadou Aliou Sow, the former coordinator of the National Council for Democracy and Development (CNDD) – as the junta called itself on taking power in December 2008 – was arrested, according to his family.
“He was summoned to the gendarmerie at Matam (a Conakry suburb), and there he was told that he was under arrest, without any other explanation,” said one of his relatives, asking not to be named.
The arrested officers were close aides to Captain Camara, who was badly wounded in December 2009 in an assassination bid by his aide de camp. Camara has since been kept out of power and has been in Burkina Faso’s capital Ouagadougou since January, officially “convalescing”.
Camara alienated former supporters in Guinea and the international community when his troops went on a rampage of killing and rape during an opposition demonstration on September 28 in Cokakry.
After Camara was shot, General Sekouba Konate came forward to take charge of a political transition which is meant to lead the bauxite-rich nation to its first free presidential elections since independence in 1958, which was followed by years of autocratic rule.
The polls are due to take place on June 27