Saturday, December 5, 2009

What exactly is going on in Guinea (updated again)??

On Thursday, the BBC and Le Monde reported that Captain Dadis Camara, the president of Guinea (Conakry) was shot and wounded by his aide de camp, lieutenant Diakité.

The BBC story said Camara was not severely wounded and was safely at the palace. The Le Monde article, fortunately,was a bit more detailed. Apparently, earlier in the day, "heavily armed soldiers forcibly freed a military prisoner from a prison in Conakry. One policeman said the prisoner and the men who freed him were loyal to lieutenant Diakité." The article added that no one knows what happened to the lieutenant and his supporters.

Initial reports on Thursday and Friday said Diakite had been arrested. Today, however, Jeune Afrique reports that the government issued a statement announcing a reward for anyone who can help find him. Finding him can't be that complicated--and he has a cell phone, just like everyone else--because he told Agence France Presse that he was in hiding in Guinea and he was just waiting to see how things shake out.

Meanwhile, President Camara was flown to Morroco yesterday for medical treatment. The President of Burkina Faso, Blaise Campaore, told the media that Camara "was in a difficult but not desperate situation." Meanwhile, Camara's spokesman keeps saying he's fine, was not badly hurt and only required minor medical treatmen and that in fact, the Minister of Defense has flown back to Conakry to ensure continuity in government until the President returns. There's an interesting tidbit in there too about how the VP was on a business trip in Lebanon (note that he wasn't on official business, he was on a business trip...).

Anyway, this whole thing gets more complicated and confusing. According to Human Rights Watch, witnesses say it was Lieutenant Diakité who ordered forces to fire on the crowd at the stadium on September 28 (you'll remember that over 150 people were killed at an opposition rally that day). Apparently, the Minister of Defense has long been trying to convince the president that the lieutenant, Diatike, should be arrested (or at the very least removed) for his role in the 28 September massacre but Camara refused.

So why do you care ? Well, first you should be worried about Guineans. Jeune Afrique reports that since the 28 September massacre, the price of rice has gone up 25%, sugar 40% and cooking oil 15%. Of course, the Guinean currency has plummeted 25 % against the euro during that time as well.

Second, apart from the fact that Guinea has 25% of the world's bauxite, plus the usual West African gold, diamonds, and iron ore, it's not exactly in the best of neighborhoods. As I've mentioned before, crisis in Guinea, and especially a serious refugee crisis could seriously affect stability in Liberia, Sierra Leone, Cote d'Ivoire, and Guinea Bissau.

I don't know exactly where that leaves us but it's pretty obvious that the Guinean junta is fractured, unpredictable, and that the situation in Guinea is extremely fluid.

Update: This article says that Camara isn't coming home this week because he can't speak (a bullet grazed his head and/or neck and sent shards of skull into his brain and that's what they were operating).

Update 2: So while things were calm for a couple days, Camara's Red Berets are now on a rampage, trying to find the lieutenant and of course going after anyone who they think is suspicious (sorry only in French, if someone finds it in English and I'll post it).

11 comments:

  1. "What, exactly, is going on in Guinea?" could be the opening to the national anthem.

    SNLII

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  2. I can't say that I miss the red berets. I can imagine that they went batsh*t after this.

    SNLII

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  3. Actually the stories said that things were really quiet--I guess they didn't really know what to do and people got really scared of the hovering helicopters.

    You mean the new national anthem right? Conte was around so long, I'm guessing people knew what was up.

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  4. "This article says that Camara isn't coming home this week because he can't speak"

    So then he's not a candid Camara?

    Ho ho ho ho ho ho ho.

    SNLII

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  5. I had to look it up:

    Peuple d'Afrique!
    Le Passé historique!
    Que chante l'hymne de la Guinée fière et jeune
    Illustre epopée de nos frères
    Morts au champ d'honneur en libérant l'Afrique!
    Le peuple de Guinée prêchant l'unité
    Appelle l'Afrique.
    Liberté! C'est la voix d'un peuple
    Qui appelle tous ses frères a se retrouver.
    Liberté! C'est la voix d'un peuple
    Qui appelle tous ses frères de la grande Afrique.
    Bâtissons l'unité africaine dans l'indépendance retrouvée.




    "Le peuple de Guinée prêchant l'unité" -- my ass!


    SNLII

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  6. Entierement d'accord. L'unite africaine hein?

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  7. Nous blamons les colonialistes (parce que les frontieres, ils ne vont pas le permettre).

    N'est pas?

    SNLII

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  8. http://www1.voanews.com/english/news/africa/Guinea-Arrests-Soldiers-10DEC09--78963752.html

    SNLII

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  9. Thanks SNLII--we haven't even talked about accusations of French involvement...

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  10. It was inevitable.

    SNLII

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