Arrest of two leaders of the Guinean anti-junta movement

Arrest of two leaders of the Guinean anti-junta movement

Arrest of two leaders of the Guinean anti-junta movement

CONAKRY, July 10, 2024 (BSS/AFP) – The leader and an official of one of the last civil society associations to denounce the junta in power in Guinea have been arrested, their organization said on social networks.

Oumar Sylla and Mamadou Billo Bah were arrested on Tuesday evening by “a group of hooded soldiers, some in civilian clothes and heavily armed”, said the pro-democracy movement National Front for the Defense of the Constitution (FNDC), describing the arrest as a “kidnapping”.

The arrests are the latest in a long series of detentions of opponents since the army seized power in September 2021, led by Colonel Mamady Doumbouya, who has since been sworn in as president and promoted to general.

Sylla, better known as Fonike Mengue, and Bah are “detained in the judicial investigations section of the gendarmerie,” the FNDC said.

Asked by AFP, a Justice Ministry official declined to comment on this information.
The FNDC was at the forefront of protests against former President Alpha Condé, who was overthrown in 2021.

The civil society collective is one of the last voices of the Guinean opposition trying to mobilize support for a return to civilian rule in this poor West African country, which has had a turbulent political history.

Authorities dissolved the FNDC in 2022 after banning all protests.
Sylla, the national coordinator of the FNDC, was arrested several times under Condé and Doumbouya, and spent several months in prison.
Bah, who heads the organization’s branches and mobilization, was detained for nearly four months last year.

Protests demanding the release of the two men, a third FNDC leader and all political prisoners have resulted in the deaths of seven people, according to the opposition, a claim denied by the police.

The arrest of the two men comes a few days after calls for mobilisation for the restoration of media outlets that had been withdrawn from activity, against the deterioration of living conditions and “other blunders of the transition”, according to the FNDC.

Authorities revoked the licenses of four of the country’s major private radio stations and two television channels in late May.