FLASH! Conde Forced to Do About-Face on His Political Trial of the Opposition Scheduled for Thursday

A_DixinnOne of several opposition marches in Guinea over the last two years –now this is a mandate!

Yesterday, Guinea Oye reported that all leaders of all opposition parties had been summoned to the court in Dixinn this coming Thursday to answer charges of “civil liability” for damages associated with violence and destruction of property during the February 27 opposition march.

Well, today, Conde is forced to do an about-face. Ibrahima Beavogui, communications director for the Ministry of Justice, announced that the convocation scheduled for Thursday is cancelled and that, instead, the legal process will continue with perpetrators to be dealt with on an individual basis.

So what happened between yesterday and today? A virtual avalanche of criticism from the West and three West African presidents, Alassane Ouattara of the Ivory Coast, Ellen Johnson-Sirleaf of Liberia, and Ernest Bai Kormoa of Sierra Leone, who visited with Conde yesteday under the guise of Mano River issues and Mali.

One can imagine the three presidents sitting at a table and drawing the picture for Conde. A courtroom filled with the leadership of the opposition being harangued by a judge for every petty crime the government could dream up, The drawing also includes a view of outside the court house where hundreds of thousands of opposition supporters are gathered in anger over the audacity of the government. And, yes, along the edges of the huge crowd stand police and gendarmes with their trigger fingers itching.

As has happened ever since Conde came to office, he treats his political opposition as if they were enemies of the state. This is how it goes with guys like Conde who steal their elections and lack a true mandate to govern.

Looks like Conde is the mad man of West Africa, his three neighbors don’t want his barbaric governance to spill across their borders, and the rest of the international community is taking the temperature of business investors trying to figure out next steps.

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Guinea Military Plane Crash: US to Join Canada in Helping Liberia with Investigation

GUINMILAIRCRASHSITE OF GUINEAN MILITARY PLANE CRASH IN LIBERIA

Liberia: U.S., Canada to Probe Guinean Plane Crash

13 February 2013

The Government of Liberia (GOL) has disclosed that the Governments of the United States of America and Canada have agreed to help with the investigation regarding the plan crash which claimed the lives of a Guinean military delegation in Liberia.

The disclosure was made Tuesday, 12 February 2013 by Liberia’s Ministers of Information and Foreign Affairs, Messrs. Lewis Browne and Augustine Ngafuan in separate interviews in Monrovia. A CASA Aircraft (CN35) 3X-GGG conveying senior Guinean government officials to Liberia’s 56th Armed Forces Day celebrations Monday, February 11, 2013 crashed in Charlesville, Margibi County, close to the country’s lone international airport, the Roberts International Airport (RIA), killing eleven people.

Wreckage of the airliner was beyond recognition as rescue workers, including Red Cross workers and other health workers, who later trooped to the crash scene, removed charred bodies of victims from the burnt aircraft which crash landed few kilometers from the RIA. Liberia’s Information Minister Lewis G. Brown, in a press conference later Monday afternoon confirmed the crash, indicating that: “The Roberts International Airport (RIA) confirms a crash incident involving a CASA Aircraft (CN35) with registration 3X-GGG approximately three miles south of the aerodrome.”

He revealed that the crashed plane flew from Conakry, the Republic of Guinea, adding that: “At 0709 GMT Air Traffic Control cleared the flight to land at RIA. That was the last known contact with the crew. A search and rescue team has been dispatched to the scene. The team comprises of RIA Rescue and Firefighting Department, UNMIL, authorities of the Liberia Civil Aviation Authority (LAA), the Firestone PPD Rescue and Firefighting Team, Firestone Medical Team and the Red Cross.”

A presidential statement issued in Guinea Monday through that country’s ministry of defense confirmed the deaths of Guinean army chief of staff, Gen. Souleymane Kelefa Diallo and five others, who were part of an official Guinean government delegation aboard the crashed aircraft bound for this year’s celebration of Liberia’s Armed Forces Day.

Reports gathered by this paper quotes Guinean military spokesman Alpha Barry as saying that: “I can confirm that there was a crash … There were between 12 and 18 officers on the plane.”

The reports divulged that two pilots were also killed in the crash, adding that the crashed CASA Aircraft (CN35) was an official Guinean military aircraft bought for Guinea’s air force for US$12 million. The reports revealed that a statement from the office of Guinean President Alpha Conde quotes the Guinean leader as immediately appointing Gen. Namory Traore as interim army chief of staff of Guinea.

Meanwhile, Liberian President Ellen Johnson-Sirleaf, while speaking at the official ceremony marking Armed Forces Day Monday, confirmed the crash, and called for a moment of silence for the crash victims; declaring Tuesday, 12 February 2013 a day of mourning, that was observed as a national holiday throughout the country.

Howbeit, Information Minister Browne divulged Tuesday that the black box and the digital voice recorder from the crashed CASA (CN35) 3X-GGG aircraft were found, and that the government of Canada has agreed to take the recovered items for examination. For his part, Foreign Affairs Minister Ngafuan Tuesday informed the populous local radio talk show, the Truth Breakfast Show, that: “Our bilateral partners, the Americans are offering to assist with the investigation.”

He corroborated Information Minister Browne’s assertion regarding the recovery of the crashed aircraft’s black box, adding that: “The crash site was protected; so all the relevant information has been recovered from there to assist the investigation so that we can know precisely what caused the crash.”

Liberian Inquiry into Guinean Military Air Crash, Bodies of Those Killed Returned to Conakry, and Opposition Postpones Its March

crashcover

(image from frontpageafricaonline.com)

Liberia initiated an inquiry into the crash of a Guinean military plane yesterday on its way to Monrovia. Eleven military officers were killed. Liberia asked Canadian authorities to analyze the black box and digital voice recordings to determine what happened.

This morning the bodies of the victims of the crash were returned to Guinea.

Alpha Conde called for three days of national morning through Wednesday.

As a result, the opposition its postponing its march, originally scheduled for tomorrow, and re-scheduling it for Monday, February 18.

More news as it becomes available.

Guinea’s Chief of the Armed Forces, Gen. Kelefa Diallo, Killed in Plane Crash: Conde Calls for Three Days of Mourning

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAGUINEAN GENERAL KELEFA DIALLO

Below you will find two articles regarding the death of General Kelefa Diallo, members of his entourage and crew in a plane crash 40 kilometers southeast of Monrovia International Airport. Estimates of the number of people who died in the crash of the Guinean military helicopter vary from 11 to 18. In addition, the purpose of the trip to Liberia varied among news sources. Some suggest it was a security mission and others say that the purpose was to participate in Liberia’s Armed Forces Day celebrations.

As you will see below, Conde has called for three days of mourning in Guinea – Monday, Tuesday, and Wednesday. In addition Conde is postponing the Tuesday, February 12, meeting he requested with the “political class.”  Given these circumstances, will the opposition continue with its march planned for Wednesday, February 13?

Stay tuned.

The circumstances of the death of Chief of Defence Staff General Kelefa Diallo are now known

Monday, February 11, 2013 2:57 p.m.

This is the news of the day in Conakry. Death in a flying accident the Chief of Defence Staff General Kelefa Diallo continues to fuel wild speculation. Rumors of rumors, Guineans no longer know which way to turn. The government responded with the voice of the Minister for Defence to make it as the circumstances of the death of the now former head of Guinean military.

We deliver the statement of the Minister for Defence

“Dear compatriots,

On behalf of the President of the Republic, Head of State, Commander in Chief of the Armed Forces and on behalf of Guinean Government, I deeply regret to inform the people of Guinean military plane crash occurred on Monday 11 February 2013 at about 7:30 minutes on Liberian territory.

The accident claimed the lives of six members of the delegation led by Major General Souleymane Diallo Kelefa, Chief of General Staff of the army, and five crew members.

In this painful time in our country, our national army, the President and his entire government, through me, offer their sincere condolences to the bereaved families, the national army and the people of Guinea.

National mourning for three days, starting on Monday 11 February, will be observed across the country, during which flags will be flown at half mast Republic.

The soul of our illustrious dead rest in peace! “

Guinea army chief dies in Liberia air crash

Kelefa Diallo, a close ally of Guinea’s president, among several military officials killed while on security mission.

Last Modified: 11 Feb 2013 16:33

Much of the area where the plane went down in Charlesville is covered in deep forest [Reuters]

A plane carrying a military delegation from Guinea has crashed in Liberia, killing the army chief of staff and at least
nine other people, according to officials and a source close to the Guinean presidency.

General Kelefa Diallo, was on a security mission to Liberia when the plane crashed on Monday, police in Guinea said.

“There was the chief of staff and five other military officials on the plane,” the Guinean source, who asked not to be identified, said.
“It’s clear that everyone on the plane is dead.”

The aircraft went down in the town of Charlesville, about 8km from the Roberts International Airport on Monday.

A presidency official in Guinea confirmed that the head of the country’s armed forces and other senior military officials were killed in the crash.

Diallo was a close ally of Guinean President Alpha Conde.

“There were 10 people on board this flight and none of them survived,” Lewis Brown, Liberian information minister, said.

But a source close to Guinea’s presidency told the AFP news agency that 18 people had died.

“There were 18 people on board including the chief of staff of the Guinean army, General Souleymane Kelefa Diallo, and they all died,” the source said.

Liberian President Ellen Johnson Sirleaf declared a day of mourning on Tuesday for the victims.

Much of the area where the plane went down is covered in deep forest.

Liberian officials said they did not yet have a list of those on board the plane and were unsure how many were crew members.


They were due to brief the press at the airport later in the day.

UN, Guinea, Liberia, Sierra Leone to Boost Military in Western Ivory Coast

Sun Sep 18, 2011 2:25pm GMT

By Ange Aboa

ABIDJAN (Reuters) – The United Nations and regional governments are deploying additional soldiers to Ivory Coast’s border area with Liberia after deadly attacks on villages in the densely forested West African region, a military official said.

Some 23 people were killed in the latest raid by suspected mercenaries from Liberia last week in Ivory Coast’s southwest, an area with a history of conflict between indigenous tribes and migrant farmers inflamed by a recent civil war.

“We have sent reinforcements to the area and (the United Nations mission in Ivory Coast) UNOCI has also added patrols to put an end to these attacks,” Ivorian army captain Alla Kouakou told Reuters by telephone late on Saturday.

He said the governments of Guinea, Liberia, and Sierra Leone — members of the so-called Mano River Union which has warned insecurity on the border represented a threat for the entire West African region — would also add forces.

He did not give details.

Ivory Coast’s southwest has been fraught with ethnic strife for decades, largely centred around land rights between indigenous tribes and the migrants who now make up the backbone of Ivory Coast’s cocoa industry.

Tensions between the two groups have reignited since last year’s disputed election sparked a civil war that toppled incumbent leader Laurent Gbagbo, paving the way for election winner Alassane Ouattara to take power.

The indigenous tribes in southwestern Ivory Coast and in nearby Liberia are believed to have supported Gbagbo, who was arrested in mid-April after fierce fighting.

Since Gbagbo’s arrest, violence has simmered on.

In the most recent attack overnight on Thursday in the Tai region, officials and residents said the gunmen were likely former Gbagbo supporters from indigenous tribes, including the Guere, who had fled to Liberia during the war.

Some 19 migrant farmers from Niger and Burkina Faso and two government soldiers were among the 23 dead, Kouakou said.

“These were the youths from the villages that left for Liberia during the war and are starting to come back. They did this,” said Issiaka Yameogo, a cocoa farmer in Zriglo, one of the villages attacked.

“We are afraid because Liberia is not far and they can come back again. But we are also worried because we can’t easily return to the bush to harvest the cocoa, and it is the start of the new season and we must harvest.”

Ivory Coast is the world’s largest cocoa grower. The southwest accounts for some 90,000-120,000 tonnes of the annual crop, which this year is expected to top 1.4 million.

Father Laurentin Guei, from the Catholic mission in Tai, said the attack was the second in a month.

(Writing by Richard Valdmanis; Editing by Sophie Hares)

Former British PM Tony Blair Picks Guinea to Participate in His Africa Governance Initiative

Blair touts Guinea’s “return of democracy” and Conde’s ability to solve problems as reasons for choosing Guinea to participate.  Actually, Guinea was chosen for the Africa Governance Initiative for the same reason as the other three participants — RESOURCES.  The question continues to be:  How will the AGI benefit the people of Guinea?

Guinea to Join Africa Governance Initiative

Africa Governance Initiative – Guinea will soon join the Africa Governance Initiative headed by former British Prime Minister Tony Blair and which includes Liberia, Sierra Leone and Rwanda, PANA learnt from well-informed sources here. A team of technicians and advisers of Africa Governance Initiative is expected in Guinea, the only French-speaking country picked for the initiative by Tony Blair and his staff, to help authorities develop and implement government priorities, with a view to attracting funds to development projects. In this respect, Rwandan President Paul Kagame will embark on a ‘working visit’ to Guinea to discuss with his counterpart, Alpha Conde, the benefits of the structure.

‘I was attracted by the vision of the new president Conde for his country. He can help resolve problems with his rigor and also by the return of democracy in Guinea that had experienced a long period of political instability like the other three countries where branches of my structure already settled,’ Blair said.

Mr Blair said his ambition for Africa prompted him to invest in the structure, which aims to promote African countries that are on the path towards democracy.

Pana 17/06/2011

PM Dore’s Visit to Liberia? Seeking Use of Buchanan Port to Export Guinea’s Iron Ore

Guinea Seeks Ore Exportation through Buchanan Port
Publication Date: November 4, 2010 – 7:45pm
Updated: November 4, 2010 – 7:45pm

By:
Alva Mulbah Wolokollie

Guinean Prime Minister, Jean Marie Dore, has expressed his country’s desire to use the Port of Buchanan, in Grand Bassa County, Liberia, as a transit point for the exportation of iron ore from the Republic of Guinea to the international market.

The Guinean Prime Minister arrived in the country on Monday at the head of a high-level Government delegation and has been holding bilateral talks with President Ellen Johnson Sirleaf and other senior Liberian state officials.

Executive Mansion sources say the main subject of the discussions has been the shipment of Guinean iron ore through the Port of Buchanan for shipment to world markets.

Minutes upon his arrival in Monrovia, Prime Minister Dore and President Johnson Sirleaf had closed door discussions at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs on Capitol Hill.

These discussions were followed by an open session held in the conference room of the Ministry.

During the open discussion, President Sirleaf welcomed the Guinean delegation and expressed confidence that the pending November 7, 2010 general and presidential elections in that bauxite and iron ore-rich country would be conducted in a peaceful atmosphere.

The Liberian leader commended the government and friendly people of Republic of Guinea for the level of coordination that has been put in place since the pronouncement of general and presidential elections in that country.

President Sirleaf, who chairs the Mano River Union (MRU), was quick to ring a bell to the Guinean delegation that the rest of the world looks forward to peaceful elections in Guinea.

In response, Prime Minister Jean Marie Dore indicated that he and his entourage were delighted to be in the country to hold talks with the Liberian leader.

The Prime Minister, who spoke in French through an interpreter, said it is historic for them to be hosted in Liberia especially if one could remember the cordial and rewarding relations that have for many decades existed between the two countries.

He described Liberia as an engine of the Mano River Union (MRU) that stands by her neighboring countries within the sub-regions.

The Guinean presidential run-off elections slated for Sunday, November 7, 2010, will determine the future of that country, he said.

He expressed the hope that the elections would pave the way for lasting peace for the people of Guinea.

Prime Minister Dore assured the Liberian leader that the elections in Guinea would be peaceful and transparent, because of the Liberian chief executive’s regular visitations and interventions have been geared toward promoting of free, fair, transparent and credible elections in that country.

The Prime Minister disclosed that the purpose of his visit to Liberia was two-fold: to strengthen collaboration between the two Mano River Union states, as Guinea prepares to transition to a democratic Government; and the submission to the Liberian Government of a proposal emphasizing Guinea’s interest in using the Port of Buchanan to export iron ore from Guinea.

He informed President Sirleaf that mining in Guinea was done closely to the border of Liberia. As a result, authorities in that country have considered it prudent to use the railway and transport iron ore and other minerals through the Port City of Buchanan.

In the past, the Guinean Prime Minister told President Sirleaf, exportation of minerals from that country was done through the Ivory Coast.

Since the 1960s Guinea has been contemplating mining its ore, which is richly deposited in the Merfegie Mountain range in Guinea. The problem has been how to export it to the world markets. Most global financial institutions have advised that it would be far more economical to ship the ore through Liberia’s Port of Buchanan, using the railway through Nimba, Bong and Grand Bassa Counties.

It is not clear when mining operations will begin in Guinean. First, no doubt, the Guinea government will have to carefully examine various proposals from global companies with the expertise and financial resources equal to the task of undertaking such a gigantic operation.

While the Prime Minister’s delegation is in the country for a three-day official visit, it is expected that the issues would be further deliberated upon.

In the C. Cecil Dennis Auditorium of the Foreign Ministry, the Vice President of Liberia, Joseph N. Boakai, tendered a dinner in honor of Prime Minister Dore and his delegation.