Guinea: Former President Alpha Condé flies to Abu Dhabi for treatment

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Screen grab from footage sent to AFP by a military source which shows Alpha Condé, President of Guinea, after he was captured by army putschists during a coup in Conakry, on September 5, 2021.

Kept under guard since the military coup that deposed him on September 5, 2021, 83-year-old former President Alpha Condé flew on Monday January 17 to Abu Dhabi, capital of United Arab Emirates, to undergo medical examinations there.

Colonel Mamady Doumbouya, putschist in chief at the head of his special forces, who became president of the transition, gave the green light two weeks ago by presenting his wishes to the diplomatic corps. “On a humanitarian basis, I granted the request for medical care abroad for former President Alpha Condé. He will go to a country of his choice in the next few days. I therefore take advantage of this moment to salute the friendly countries that have worked on this.”, he announced.

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This relaxation of his living conditions was one of the demands made by the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS). “Former President Alpha Condé is authorized to go outside for consultation for a period of one month”, then specified a government press release read on public television.

Some time earlier, the sub-regional organization had partially won its case on the “liberation” of the former president (2010-2021) kept incommunicado in a palace in Conakry since his fall. At the end of November, he was transferred to the house of his wife Hadja Djénè Kaba Condé, in the residential district of Dixinn. Guinea remains suspended from the authorities of ECOWAS and the members of the junta as well as their families are still placed under individual sanctions (freezing of financial assets and travel ban).

Almost cut off from the world

“The National Rally Committee for Development (CNRD), [la junte qui a pris la direction du pays] will continue to ensure the former Head of State a treatment worthy of his rank, and this without any national and international pressure”, then specified the new Guinean authorities.

The diplomats or heads of state in the region who had been able to meet the deposed president had been able to ensure, on several occasions, that the latter was not mistreated. However, he was almost cut off from the world – with the exception of the presence of his Togolese cook and butler and the daily visits of his doctor – and deprived of his mobile phones.

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Several countries were ready to welcome Alpha Condé, including Turkey and Qatar. Alpha Condé finally chose Abu Dhabi. “The United Arab Emirates have always had good relations with him and Guinea”, underlines a Guinean diplomat. In August 2021, six agreements had been signed between the two parties relating to air transport, mining and infrastructure.

The Abu Dhabi Ports group also manages the container terminal at Kamsar, a mining port located 250 kilometers north of Conakry. “It is undoubtedly a guarantee for the return of the former president. The Emiratis, says a diplomatic source, have interests to defend and have no interest in falling out with the new authorities. »

No “witch hunt”

The latter are not determined to let the former president vanish into thin air. “It has networks and a certain capacity for nuisance”, says a Guinean ministerial adviser. “ECOWAS is committed to returning him to Conakry once his exams have been completed”, adds this source. The CNRD wants to let him go temporarily but intends to have him always on hand. A decision of the Guinean justice, taken three days before his departure for Abu Dhabi, thus indicates that the former president could well be judged, one day.

Shortly after his coup, Colonel Doumbouya assured that there would be no ” witch hunt “ but that justice would be “compass” from the country. On Friday January 14, the Attorney General at the Conakry Court of Appeal, Alphonse Charles Wright, instructed the prosecutors under his authority “to initiate without delay or have legal proceedings initiated or to seize the competent courts around the alleged facts committed during the period from 2010 to 2020”.

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Period during which Alpha Condé was in business. The Attorney General cites among the facts on which to investigate murders, enforced disappearances, arrests or abductions by agents of the State, acts of torture and attacks on individual freedoms…

The repression had intensified during the last months of the Alpha Condé regime as his intention – initially unconstitutional – to run for a third presidential term became clearer despite strong popular protest. Several dozen people had fallen under the bullets of the police.

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Guinea: Former President Alpha Condé flies to Abu Dhabi for treatment

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