Monday, July 13, 2009

Guinea on Alert For 'Attack Plot'

Guinea on alert for 'attack plot'

The military government of Guinea says it has put the army on high alert at all border posts after uncovering plans for an attack on the country.

The West African state said armed men were gathering on the borders with Guinea-Bissau and Senegal to the north and Liberia to the south.

An announcement on state-run national radio said drugs cartels were believed to be behind the plans.

Guinea is a key transit point for drugs en route from the Americas to Europe.

When the junta led by Captain Moussa Camara seized power some seven months ago, it made the fight against drugs one of its key priorities.

Several leading suspects have been arrested and are awaiting trial, but the regime must have made powerful enemies in the process, correspondents say.

The BBC's Alhassan Sillah in the capital, Conakry, says the announcement of the national alert caught most people off guard and many have reacted with trepidation.

The statement, carried on state radio said "well informed sources" had indicated that the attackers were on the payroll of drug cartels.

"The ministry of defence was informed by the security services and other credible sources of the preparation of an armed attack on Guinea from its borders with Guinea-Bissau and the region of Casamance [in Senegal]," it said.

"These sources have also indicated that there are armed men regrouping on the border with Guinea Bissau to the north and the town of Foya to the south on the border with Liberia."

The BBC's John James in neighbouring Ivory Coast says there is no independent confirmation of the reality of any threat along Guinea's borders.

There are large numbers of small arms in circulation in the region, while along the border with Senegal there is a low-level insurgency by rebels hoping for the Casamance region to break away from Dakar, he adds.

Election pressure

The statement comes as the military government faces increasing pressure from both local political and civil society groups and the international community for it to hold elections.

Captain Camara has said he will stand down after free and fair elections, which he says will take place by the end of 2009.

The African Union suspended Guinea after the coup, which followed the death of long-standing President Lansana Conte. Many Guineans welcomed the coup, seeing it as bringing an end to years of misrule.

Guinea has more than a third of the world's bauxite reserves, and also has large reserves of gold, diamonds, iron and nickel.


1. Most of the world's supply of cocaine comes from South America. Venezuela is one of the main departure points for illicit drug consignments leaving the region. Drugs are flown or shipped to West Africa in shipping containers, small boats, or private and commercial aircraft .

2. West Africa has become a major hub for smuggling South American cocaine into Europe as British and American anti-drug efforts have curtailed the use of traditional smuggling routes.

3. In West Africa the drugs are stockpiled and prepared for transport into Europe by South American, European and local drugs gangs.

4. The drugs are smuggled to Europe by shipping container, overland, airfreight or on commercial passenger flights using "mules" via West and East Africa.

Story from BBC NEWS:
Published: 2009/07/12 09:41:04 GMT

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