Ex-African leader on the loose after prison break – authorities

Lazy eyes listen


According to local authorities, a group of unidentified armed men stormed the prison in Guinea’s capital, freeing former president and coup leader Moussa Dadis Camara, with media and witnesses reporting heavy gunfire in the area.

Justice Minister Charles Alphonse Wright confirmed the news on Saturday, telling local radio station Fim FM that, in addition to Camara, who led the West African nation and former French colony from 2008 to 2010, other escapees included Claude Pivi and Blaise Goumou.

The two men were arrested, along with Camara, in connection with a massacre at a stadium in Conakry more than a decade ago.

“We will find them. And those responsible will be held accountable,” the minister said, adding that the fourth fugitive, Moussa Tiegboro Camara, had already been recaptured, and that the authorities had closed the country’s borders.

Several unverified social media videos captured the sound of heavy automatic gunfire in Guinea’s capital; one of them shows a large presence of security forces in the city. The centre of Conakry has been sealed off, according to several witnesses interviewed by AFP.

According to Jeune Afrique, the commando force that stormed the prison was led by the son of Claude Pivi, who once served in Guinea’s special forces.

Camara took power in a coup late in 2008, following the death of then-President Lansana Conte. He and several other former Guinean officials were tried for the massacre at a stadium in Conakry on September 28, 2009, which killed more than 150 people.

There were also mass atrocities against civilians allegedly committed by Camara’s forces. Following the tragedy, Camara was seriously injured in an assassination attempt and went into exile in neighboring Burkina Faso.  

He returned to Guinea in 2021, following a coup d’etat that year. However, Camara was imprisoned last September; he and his co-defendants are accused of murder, sexual violence, torture, abduction, and kidnapping, and face life in prison.