Guinea. Following the death of President Lansana Conté at the end of 2008, a military junta, the National Council for Democracy and Development (CNDD), took power under the leadership of Captain Moussa Dadis Camara. Militants were in majority in the new government that took office in mid-January. They also held most of the heavier ministerial posts. However, Prime Minister Kabine Komara was civil.
According to countryaah, the regional cooperation organization ECOWAS decided a few weeks later to temporarily exclude Guinea until elections were held. The days before the turn of the year 2008/2009, the African Union (AU) had done the same.
Juntan initially gained some popularity through his promise to hold elections by 2010. Several former ministers, including former Prime Minister Ahmed Tidiane Souaré, were arrested during the first three months of corruption charges in April, but were released in April against bail and pledges that they would pay back the money. In live broadcasts on TV, the junta leader Camara asked them about where the money had gone. Lansana Conté’s eldest son Ousmane acknowledged in state television that he was involved in drug smuggling but denied that he had played any leading role.
In April and May, several officers were arrested, some of whom were part of the junta, accused of planning a coup. There were also other signs that the junta did not have full control over all soldiers. According to the human rights group Human Rights Watch, groups of soldiers had stolen goods and valuables from both shops and private individuals, who had often been abused in connection with the crimes.
At the end of April, junta leader Camara decided to form a new transitional council NTC with 117 members through decree to assist the junta in legislative matters. The NTC contained representatives of political parties, trade unions, business, religious organizations, women’s groups and more. The junta leader Camara, in Guinea often just called Dadis, had previously said that he himself would not attend, but afterwards it seemed as if he had changed his mind.
In August, it was announced that presidential elections would be held in January 2010 and parliamentary elections in March of the same year. On September 28, around 50,000 people gathered in the capital Conakry to mark their dissatisfaction with the junta’s rule. The protest was peaceful, but soldiers interfered with violence and fired straight at the protesters or attacked them with bayonets and others. According to human rights organizations, 156 people were killed, and a large number of women were completely raped by the soldiers.
The regime claimed that 57 fatalities had been claimed and most of them had been trampled to death. Captain Camara later blamed the deed on soldiers in the army that the junta could not control. There was evidence that some of the soldiers had spoken English, and it was speculated that they were former combatants of the Liberian rebel group ULIMO. The deed was condemned by the outside world and both the EU and the AU, ECOWAS and the US imposed sanctions on Guinea, including in the form of an arms embargo and sanctions against individuals with links to the regime. The UN also appointed a commission to investigate what had really happened. In October, the International Criminal Court (ICC) opened a formal investigation into the massacre.
In October, an agreement was announced between Guinea and a Chinese company that gave the Chinese the right to exploit Guinean natural resources in exchange for major infrastructure investments. According to the Guinean Government, the agreement was worth about seven billion US dollars. ECOWA’s mediator, Burkese President Blaise Compaoré, presented a proposal in November that meant that Camara should lead a broad transitional government until the election. None of the junta’s members would be allowed to stand in the elections, which according to the proposal must be held by October 2010. But the plan did not resonate with the political opposition.
The situation in the country worsened further on December 3, when Camara was subjected to an attempted murder. The junta leader was shot and forced to leave the country to receive care in Morocco. Behind the deed lay Camara’s bodyguard Abubakar “Toumba” Diakite, who feared he would be singled out as responsible for the shooting deaths in September. However, “Toumba” Diakite managed to escape. In his attempts to get hold of him, the junta worked hard, at least sixty people were arrested, several of whom were reported to have been tortured. Representatives of the junta accused France of being involved in the assassination attempt.
Defense Minister Sékouba Konaté temporarily took control of the country on December 9. Until November 1, four ministers left the government in protest against the massacre. Fears that the unrest would spread in the region led ECOWAS to discuss whether neighboring countries would send a military force to Guinea.
On December 17, the UN-sponsored international commission concluded its report, which blamed the September massacre with Camara, “Toumba” Diakite and another junta member. The UN Commission intended to submit its report to the ICC. The report confirmed that the armed forces had also committed torture and mass rape.