Former Guinea dictator Camara, 2 others escape from prison in a jailbreak, justice minister says


CONAKRY, Guinea (AP) — Gunmen stormed the main prison in Guinea’s capital early Saturday and freed former dictator Moussa “Dadis” Camara, the country’s justice minister said, announcing the closure of the West African nation’s borders.

The announcement by Justice Minister Charles Alphonse Wright came several hours after heavy gunfire erupted in the Kaloum district of the capital, Conakry.

Among the others who escaped were Claude Pivi and Blaise Goumou, who along with Camara had been detained on charges in connection with a 2009 stadium massacre that left 157 people dead.

“We will find them. And those responsible will be held accountable,” Wright told local Radio Fim FM.

A fourth prisoner, Moussa Tiegboro Camara, already has been recaptured, he added.

Camara came to power in a 2008 coup d’etat following the death of longtime dictator Lansana Conte. Camara had lived for years in exile after surviving an assassination attempt by one of his bodyguards before returning home to Guinea in late 2021.

More than a dozen suspects were charged in connection with the 2009 massacre, when Guinean security forces fired upon peaceful demonstrators protesting against his intention to run for president after seizing power.

For years Guinea’s government had sought to prevent Camara’s homecoming from exile in Burkina Faso, fearing it could stoke political instability. However, another coup in September 2021 put a military junta in power in Guinea that was more amenable to Camara’s return.

Camara testified in court last year that he was sleeping during the early hours of the attack, then awoken at 11 a.m. when he was told that demonstrators had been killed.


Associated Press writer Krista Larson in Dakar, Senegal contributed to this report.

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