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, Wright said.
“We will find them. And those responsible will be held accountable,” Wright told local Radio Fim FM.
Camara, who came to power in a 2008 coup d’etat, had been detained in connection with a stadium massacre during his brief time in power. He had lived for years in exile after surviving an assassination attempt by one of his bodyguards before returning home in late 2021.
Camara is one of more than a dozen suspects who 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. At least 157 people were slain, human rights groups say.
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.
Associated Press writer Krista Larson in Dakar, Senegal contributed to this report.