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Guinea Army Officers Released After Arrest

June 15, 2010

Guinea army officers released after arrest

(AFP) – 18 hours ago

CONAKRY, Guinea — A dozen Guinean army officers close to ex-junta chief Moussa Dadis Camara were freed Monday after several days in police detention, family members and an army official said.

“They were released without being told why they were detained for four days at police headquarters in Matam (a Conakry suburb),” said a relative of one of the officers.

“What is certain is that we found our parent safe and sound, he does not complain about anything except the isolation and anguish he endured,” he said.

The release was confirmed by a source close to the army chief of staff.

“We want them to rejoin their families pending an investigation on the management of the funds they had to manage without accountability,” said the army source.

The officers arrested on Friday include Guinean former chief of staff Colonel Oumar Sanoh, and his deputy, Colonel Abdoulaye Keita.

All 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”.

On Sunday night, the leader of Guinea’s army, Colonel Nouhou Thiam said the officers need to “clarify a certain number of money management issues we find opaque.”

But Thiam, the chief of staff, told AFP and Radio France Internationale (RFI) late Sunday that the wave of “arrests has nothing to do with politics” in the west African country.

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 Conakry.

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.

While Camara’s return has not been officially raised, Burkinabe Prime Minister Tertius Zongo said Monday in Ouagadougou that any decision to return to Conakry would be linked to “reconciliation” in Guinea.

“We believe that the political process that is underway, will define the rules of reconciliation of society with itself.

“Therefore, if there are these rules, we believe that the signal will come first from the people of Guinea” for the return of Camara to his country, Zongo said at a news conference.

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