Several members of a coalition, including its leader who recently threatened to demonstrate against the ruling junta, were violently arrested Tuesday, July 5 by the police in Conakry, capital of Guinea, after statements targeting the transitional parliament and the justice, said the prosecution and their lawyer.

The police arrested three members of the National Front for the Defense of the Constitution (FNDC), a coalition which had orchestrated months of mobilization from 2019 to 2021 against former President Alpha Condé (2010-2021), overthrown in September 2021 by a junta led by Colonel Mamady Doumbouya.

The national coordinator of the FNDC, Oumar Sylla dit Foniké Mengué, Mamadou Billo Bah and the rapper Djanii Alfa were violently arrested by the police at the headquarters of their coalition, where they were holding a press conference. The first two were beaten and their clothes torn by police, noted an AFP journalist.

MM. Sylla and Bah are being prosecuted for having “produced and disseminated through a computer system insulting remarks against the National Transitional Council [CNT]”, the transitional parliament set up by the junta, the prosecutor of the Conakry Court of Appeal, Alphonse Richard Wright, on the private radio station Fim FM.

Reactions of indignation

Rapper Djanii Alfa had recently criticized remarks by the president of the CNT, Dansa Kourouma, who advocated a regrouping of the parties of Guinea in two or three blocks according to their ideology, before being threatened with arrest by the prosecutor, indicated the lawyer for the three men, Salifou Béavogui, told AFP. Mr. Sylla had criticized these threats from the prosecutor on his Facebook page. The remarks alleged against Mr. Bah were not specified.

The three men were detained on Tuesday in the premises of the judicial police and presented “open wounds on several parts of their bodies” caused by their arrest, assured Mr. Béavogui. The reactions of indignation multiplied in the evening.

“I am deeply shocked and outraged by the barbarism that has characterized the unjust and illegal arrest by the security forces of the main figures of the FNDC”, tweeted the leader of the main Guinean party, Cellou Dalein Diallo, who demanded their release. “This shows that the system has not changed,” also reacted Alseny Sall of the Guinean Organization for the Defense of Human and Citizen Rights (OGDH).

“Lonely and authoritarian conduct of the transition”

The FNDC had called for demonstrations on June 23, defying the ban imposed by the junta. He had suspended his call the day before the demonstration, to “give a chance” to the dialogue proposed by the transitional government.

But after the last meeting with him, the FNDC denounced “a travesty of meeting”, but also “the solitary and authoritarian conduct of the transition” and “the serious attacks on fundamental rights and freedoms”. Junta leader Colonel Mamady Doumbouya has pledged to hand over power to elected civilians within three years.

The Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) rejected this delay on Sunday, during a meeting in Accra, without announcing new sanctions against Guinea, already suspended from the bodies of the organization. She appointed a new mediator, former Beninese President Thomas Boni Yayi.