Guinea junta detains ex-minister

Guinea’s new junta held a former minister, Tibou Kamara, for several hours after arresting him before dawn on Sunday and ransacking his home, according to his entourage and an official statement. 

Kamara was industry minister and spokesman in the government of Alpha Conde, who was overthrown in a coup in the West African country on September 5.

Kamara was taken to an undisclosed location with no explanation, an associate told AFP.

Around 10 men searched his home and took away various items including phones belonging to his entourage, the source said.

Kamara was released Sunday afternoon, his entourage said.

The ruling National Committee of Reconciliation and Development (CNRD) confirmed the arrest in a statement read out over state television, accusing Kamara of violating pledges of neutrality towards the junta.

After the coup, the CNRD told the ousted government “to abstain from any action or communication that could disturb social peace and the patriotic fervour sparked by the arrival of the CNRD”, the statement said.

It accused Kamara of “clear and repeated violation” of this commitment, adding that “several items relating to this violation were seized” at his home.

“The CNRD, true to its commitment to make justice its compass, assures the people of Guinea that no witch hunt will be carried out,” it said.

The CNRD barred former ministers from leaving the poor former French colony and ordered them to hand over their travel documents and return their official vehicles.

The putsch has fuelled international concerns over democratic backsliding across West Africa and drawn parallels with Mali, which suffered two coups since August 2020.

Conde, 83, had come under increasing pressure for what critics say was a slide into authoritarianism, with dozens of opposition activists arrested after a disputed election last year. 

The country of 13 million people has suffered three coups since independence in 1958.