Guinea soldier accused over stadium massacre extradited to face trial

by Reuters
Monday, 13 March 2017 12:45 GMT

In this file photo, a general view shows activity at Guinea's largest Madina market in the capital Conakry. REUTERS/Emmanuel Braun

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At least 150 people were massacred, dozens of women raped during the incident at the main stadium in the capital Conakry

CONAKRY, March 13 (Reuters) - A Guinean soldier accused of involvement in a massacre of at least 150 people has been extradited from Senegal to Guinea to face trial, judicial sources said on Monday.

Dozens of women were also raped during the incident at the main stadium in Guinea's capital Conakry in Sept. 2009.

Senegalese authorities arrested Lieutenant Aboubacar "Toumba" Diakite, former head of Guinea's presidential guard and a close aide to ex-junta leader Moussa Dadis Camara, in the Senegalese capital in December 2016.

Witnesses say Diakite played a key role as security forces opened fire on pro-democracy protesters rallying against Camara, who took power in a coup in 2008.

"Diakite has been extradited but we wanted to be discreet. He arrived in Conakry yesterday (Sunday) around 19:27 (19:27 GMT)," said an official at the justice ministry.

The official and a police source said Diakite was being held at Conakry's main prison.

Diakite, who evaded authorities for years before his arrest, told French radio in 2009 that he shot Camara in the head in a failed assassination attempt in December that year because Camara had tried to pin responsibility for the stadium killings on him.

"He tried to blame me for everything that happened on September 28. It was this act of treason that pushed me into acting," Diakite said of the crackdown by security forces.

Other media reports in 2009 quoted Diakite and Camara as both denying responsibility for the stadium massacre.

"Toumba's extradition ... demonstrates to victims that the Guinean justice is willing to tackle impunity and to organise the credible trial for which we have been waiting seven years," said Asmaou Diallo, president of an association of families and friends of the massacre victims, in a statement.

(Reporting by Saliou Samb; Writing by Nellie Peyton; Editing by Matthew Mpoke Bigg and Andrew Roche)