Both civilians and police officers were killed during anti-government protests on 11 and 12 August in Sierra Leone. Hundreds of people took to ... the streets on Wednesday 11 August to protest against economic conditions in the country.
The incident only lasted a few hours. According to our information, the military putschists released the former minister at around 3pm. Kamara was woken up at 1am when hooded men in special forces uniforms burst into his home in the Camayenne district, located at the entrance of downtown Kaloum.
“They started on the ground floor and tied up the guards, then went into the surveillance office where they ransacked everything. They also ripped out the surveillance cameras and left with the server,” his wife, Myriam Soumah Kamara, told us the following morning from Morocco where she lives. “They forced one of the security guards to show them my husband’s flat where he was sleeping in the lounge with his assistant. They threatened him with a gun and covered his eyes.”
They returned to the scene 20 minutes later and the gendarmerie was called in to write-up a report. “They went directly to the room, without addressing anyone. They searched the suitcases, the cupboards and took [items] (computers, phones, clothes, cash) [from] the premises,” says a person close to the Kamara family who requested anonymity.
Kamara was then taken to the headquarters of the Comité National de Rassemblement et de Développement (CNRD), located in a wing of the Palais du Peuple. It is not known whether he met with Lieutenant-Colonel Mamady Doumbouya. However, this night-time arrest is believed to be linked to ‘a fit of rage’ on the part of the junta leader following a ‘misunderstanding’ between the two men. Kamara was not mistreated, but his mobile phones were confiscated for several hours.
The president’s trusted man
Kamara, who is one of Condé’s most loyal supporters, has held several positions under the former head of state: he was minister of state, personal advisor to the president and minister of industry and SMEs. As a trusted member of the president’s staff, he was an indispensable part of Condé’s third and contested re-election campaign.
READ MORE Guinea Coup – the Fall of Alpha Condé
This former journalist, who founded the weekly L’Observateur in 2003, was able to get closer to the spheres of power in the early 2000s and has since skillfully navigated from government to government. He was briefly the minister of communication – a post he held for only 24 hours – under prime minister Cellou Dalein Diallo (with whom he has remained close to); he was then appointed president of the Conseil National de la Communication in 2008 by Lansana Conté and then served as minister of communication under Dadis Camara.
Although he and Condé have been friends for a long time, the two men have an unequal relationship. Kamara was suspected of having played a role in the attack on the president’s home in July 2011. He spent five years in exile before Condé, newly re-elected, invited him back to Guinea for his inauguration.
A shadow mediator in the early hours of this second term, he was finally appointed the president’s personal adviser in early 2017, before he joined the government in 2018. He became closer to Condé during the October 2020 presidential campaign. This man, who is reputed to be intelligent and eloquent, had the president’s ear and benefited from his protection.
According to our information, Doumbouya, who the president’s entourage had distrusted for several months, held Kamara responsible for this defiance. Nevertheless, the former minister responded to the coup plotters’ summons and attended a strange allegiance ceremony, which took place the day after the coup. The lieutenant-colonel, head of the elite special forces unit, assured the entire deposed government that his seizure of power would not be accompanied by any “spirit of hatred, revenge [or] witch-hunting.”
Prior to Kamara’s arrest, none of the ministers (whose diplomatic passports and official vehicles were confiscated by the junta) had been touched. Condé, who has expressed his desire to be placed under house arrest, is still being held by the military. We contacted the members of the CNRD, but they did not wish to speak to us officially.
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