Guinea Junta Releases Political Detainees to Gain Popular Backing

As the regional bloc ECOWAS prepared to discuss the turmoil in the West African nation. Putschists in Guinea has released a group of political opponents of deposed president Alpha Conde on Tuesday.

Special forces led by Lieutenant Colonel Mamady Doumbouya staged a coup in the mineral-rich but impoverished country on Sunday and arrested the president, sparking international condemnation.

President Alpha Conde was criticised for perceived authoritarianism, with dozens of opposition activists arrested after a violently disputed election last year.

About 20 prisoners were freed from prison in the capital Conakry on Tuesday evening, including prominent opposition activists.

Lawyers representing the detainees said that 79 people had been cleared for release in discussions with the military.

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The military released a communique on Monday urging the justice ministry to accelerate the release of “political detainees”.

Doumbouya on Tuesday also repeated a pledge to hold talks on forming a new government.

He tweeted that “the government to be installed will be that of national unity and will ensure this political transition,”

Sunday’s coup triggered broad diplomatic condemnation from the United States, European Union, African Union and the West African bloc ECOWAS with calls for Conde’s release.

The Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) is due to hold a virtual extraordinary summit to discuss the crisis on Wednesday.

Russia also said it wanted Guinean institutions restored “as soon as possible”Kremlin spokesman said, “We expect in any case that the interests of our businessmen… will not be affected,”

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