Saturday, September 17, 2011

Gambia, Senegal Deny Involvement in Attack on Guinea Leader

Gambia Foreign Affairs Minister - Momodou Tangara
(Africasia) - Gambia on Monday denied any involvement in an attempted assassination of Guinean President Alpha Conde in July, after he accused Senegal and Gambia of being complicit in the attack.
Conde, in an interview with the private Senegalese radio station Sud FM broadcast on Sunday, said a rocket attack on his home had been plotted in Dakar, and he suspected the two governments were aware of it.
"The Gambia would like to state that it did not have any involvement or prior information surrounding the attempted assassination of the Guinean president," read a statement from the foreign ministry.

In a sign of chilled diplomatic relations, the statement goes on to say Gambia "will not take lightly accusations of this kind especially since this is not the first by Guinea", without further explanation.

The statement also urged Conde "to refrain from making unfounded accusations".
Gambian President Yayha Jammeh often visited former Guinean counterpart Lansana Conte who, like him, took power in a coup and ruled for 24 years until his death in December 2008, which was followed by another military takeover.
Jammeh is also believed to have supported Conde's rival Cellou Dalein Diallo in Guinea's 2010 elections.

Senegal's foreign ministry said Monday the accusations had been "a surprise".
Senegal "was neither involved from near nor from far in this unfortunate event which it has already firmly condemned," the statement said, adding the country had at all times welcomed Guinean politicians, including Conde, with hospitality.

The attack took place in the early hours of July 20, when rogue soldiers opened fire on Conde's residence, blasting it with bazookas and rocket-propelled grenades in a two-hour gun battle.
The president was unhurt but a member of his presidential guard was killed and two others were injured in the attack which rocked the nation just seven months after its first ever democratic election.
 
Guinea President Alpha Conde
"Everything was prepared in Dakar," said Conde, 73, who accused three men of being among those who plotted the attack at the chic Meridien President Hotel in the north of the Senegalese capital.
All three men he accuses of plotting the attack are allies of General Sekouba Konate, who led a transitional government in 2010.

They are Amadou Bah Oury, number two in the main opposition Guinean Union of Democrats, former minister in the Guinean presidency Tibou Camara "who is always in Gambia" and businessman Amadou Oury Diallo, known as Sadaka.
Camara's wife is related to Gambian first lady Zineb Jammeh, according to the former minister's associates in Guinea.

In the interview, Conde said he had told the Gambian and Senegalese foreign ministers "that things were being planned in the President Hotel in Dakar and there are comings and goings in Gambia and that I don't think this was happening behind their backs.
"I think there is complicity by the Senegalese government and the Gambian government, even if they say they weren't being vigilant."

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