UN backs Guinea army reform

2011-07-21 23:04

Dakar - The United Nations is more determined than ever to support military reforms in Guinea after an attack against President Alpha Conde, the organisation's top envoy to the region said on Thursday.

Said Djinnit, the UN special representative to West Africa, was speaking as he visited Conakry just two days after a rocket attack on Conde's residence.

He said the assault on Conde's base, just seven months after the country's first democratic elections, showed "weaknesses remain in Guinea's defence and security systems" and "reinforces the UN's determination to support the country" in its military reforms.

In an interview with French radio after the attack on Tuesday, the 73-year-old Conde suggested the attack may have been masterminded by rogue army officers displeased at recent anti-corruption measures.

Conde is tasked with overhauling a security sector which has often come under fire from rights groups for brutality, and has been at the vanguard of countless coups and attempted coups since independence from France in 1958.

The president escaped unhurt after the rocket hit his home in the early hours of Tuesday morning, but a member of his presidential guard was killed and two others injured as they fought off an attack for over two hours.

"I saw the damage," Djinnit told AFP after a visit to Conde's home, adding that it showed the attackers "clearly intended to kill the president".

Two more soldiers were arrested on Thursday, bringing to 39 the number of officers being held over the attack.

A military source told AFP that those arrested were military engineer Captain Mamadou Oury Diallo and Colonel Tidiane Camara, a friend of General Sekouba Konate who led a transition government in 2010.

Shortly after a military coup in 2008 in which young army officer Captain Moussa Dadis Camara seized power, Tidiane Camara was arrested for drug trafficking but later released by Konate who promoted him to Colonel.

Most of those arrested are close allies of Konate and the former junta chief Camara who led the country between 2008 and 2009.

Former army chief Nouhou Thiam, who was arrested on Tuesday, is still in custody and considered a suspect.