Guinea massacre trial: ex junta members give conflicting testimonies

After Toumba Diakite's testimony, the former strongman of Conakry recently rewound the film of the day he almost lost his…

After Toumba Diakite’s testimony, the former strongman of Conakry recently rewound the film of the day he almost lost his life.On September 28, 2022, it was time for justice in Guinea. Thirteen years earlier, an opposition rally was bloodily suppressed by the junta in power at the time, resulting in the death of at least 157 people and the raping of 109 women who had come to denounce the possible presidential candidacy of Moussa Dadis Camara. A trial finally opened to try the massacre at Conakry’s September 28 Stadium.

Since then, the country, which is currently in the hands of a new generation of military officers, has lived to the rhythm of televised hearings, pleadings and revelations. Among the eleven individuals facing heavy charges are Toumba Diakite and Moussa Dadis Camara, linked by another terrible story told in a different way.

The former, during his interrogation on October 24, 2022 before the Dixinn Criminal Court, gave his part of the truth about what can be described as an attempted murder. In court, Aboubacar Sidiki Diakite, alias Toumba, said that Dadis Camara went to the Koundara barracks on December 3, 2009, to arrest him and pin the September 28 massacre on him.

“The events occurred on a Thursday. I was with six soldiers who often accompanied me. Chief Warrant Officer Mohamed 2 Camara, known as Begre, commander of the Koundara military camp, called me to tell me that Makambo (Captain Joseph Loua) had arrested my men. They (Dadis’ clan) had started to carry out their plan,” said the former aide-de-camp of the military leader who took over Guinea after the death of General Lansana Conte from an illness.

“I shot Dadis”

In his account, Toumba Diakite said that everything went wrong at that moment. After hearing from Makambo, at the time a member of the presidential guard, that the orders came from Dadis, there was “a very tense exchange between us before I went to the Judicial Investigation Brigade of the National Gendarmerie (PM3) to free my men.”

Once the objective was achieved, Toumba went on, we returned to the barracks. But “General Balde (Ibrahima, former high commander of the Gendarmerie) and Colonel Cece Balamou went to Camp Alpha Yaya Diallo, which served as the presidential palace, to tell Dadis I don’t know what,” he added.

Well escorted, the then president set foot in Camp Koundara. “He immediately began to storm against me as his men surrounded me. The nerves were tense. Everyone had their finger almost on the trigger,” Toumba Diakite recalls.

Feeling in danger of death, “I grabbed a gun and fired at Dadis’ head while he was talking. I then charged at the others to start a fight. They fired and only God knows what happened next.”

This dreamlike scene was one of the signs of disagreement within the ranks of the National Council for Democracy and Development (CNDD), the junta’s body, in the aftermath of the September 28, 2009 massacre. After Toumba Diakite, Moussa Dadis Camara faced the judges on January 18 to challenge the version of his former aide de camp.

“I was awakened from my sleep by General Balde. He told me that Toumba was firing shots. Everyone was afraid. I swear, as he is my younger brother, I went to the Koundara barracks to tell him to come to his senses and take him to Camp Alpha Yaya Diallo. This is the spirit that animated me. I had no intention of arresting him,” said the former president, whose questioning continued on Monday.