Authorities say gunmen stormed Guinea’s biggest jail early Saturday and freed former ruler Moussa “Dadis” Camara and several others. However, the ex-strongman’s lawyer then stated that he had been kidnapped.
Prosecutor Yamoussa Conte said in a statement that he has asked officials to investigate charges of eluding arrest and possessing weapons against Camara and three other people.
However, Camara’s attorney confirmed late Saturday afternoon that her client was being questioned at the central jail.
Among those who escaped were Claude Pivi and Blaise Goumou, who had been arrested alongside Camara on accusations related to a 2009 stadium massacre that killed 157 people.
“We will find them. And those responsible will be held accountable,” Justice Minister Charles Alphonse Wright, told local Radio Fim FM several hours after heavy gunfire erupted in the Kaloum district of the capital, Conakry.
A fourth prisoner, Moussa Thiegboro Camara, already has been recaptured, Wright added.
Camara took control in a coup in 2008, following the death of longstanding tyrant Lansana Conte. Camara had been living in exile for years after escaping an assassination attempt by one of his bodyguards before returning to Guinea in late 2021.
More than a dozen people have been indicted in connection with the 2009 massacre, in which Guinean security forces opened fire on nonviolent protesters opposing his decision to run for president after gaining power.
For years, Guinea’s government has worked to prevent Camara’s return from exile in Burkina Faso, believing that it would spark political unrest. However, another coup in Guinea in September 2021 installed a military regime that was more open to Camara’s return.