Man of the moment, Doumbouya grants presidential pardon to top military colonel imprisoned by Alpha Conde; many political detainees freed
Pursuing a career back in the Guinean army, he was sent for staff officer training at the École de Guerre in France and then picked by Condé to establish the new GPS to provide an elite unit trained to deal with the terrorist threats that have become a growing concern for governments across West Africa. It was therefore based in central Conakry, in part of the Palais du Peuple congress centre.
But when Doumbouya bluntly told a French military conference about the struggles he faced in trying to secure government resources for his new force, word got back to an infuriated Diané. Relations between the two men steadily deteriorated.
The Defence Minister brushed aside efforts by Kankan community elders to mediate between the two men, both of whom are Malinké. He opted instead to marginalise Doumbouya by creating a rival unit, the Bataillon d’Intervention Rapide (BIR) – for which the establishment decree, seen by Africa Confidential, was issued on 1 June this year.
The decree, signed by Condé, says the BIR was set up to ‘intervene quickly to back up other border units in the fight against all kinds of threats’. It says the BIR is ‘the main means of dissuasion, reaction and coercion of the Army. Robust, supple, reactive, it constitutes a genuine rapid reaction force.’
The enforced transfer of the GPS base was further intended to demotivate the unit, with its soldiers stuck in sleepy Forecariah, away from the temptations of Conakry, even though this distanced them from the capital city installations they had been created to protect.
But there are indications in Conakry that the roots of the coup may stretch back earlier than these ructions and that significant elements of the military had been mulling a putsch for some time.
The profoundness of popular hostility against Condé had been noticeable for many months, and it slowly circulated above the normal sources of assistance for the minority to substantial portions of the Malinké population and even some fellows of the ruling Rassemblement du Peuple Guinéen (RPG).
Alpha Conde, imprisoned a lot of military men most notable among them was Lt. Colonel Mamadouh Alpha Barry. The junta leader Doumbouya has granted him a presidential pardon.