Thursday, May 29, 2008

[Guinean news] Mutinous soldiers clash with presidential guard

Tension has continued to rise in Guinea and fears (hopes?) of a military coup are increasing.

Late on Wednesday, mutinous soldiers forced their way on to a runway at the Conakry International Airport and prevented an American military plane from landing.

The BBC reported that On Thursday, the soldiers set up roadblocks at the entrance to the administrative district, which houses the presidency, the army headquarters and some embassies. It added that Soldiers say that some of them have not received any pay since 1996, when an army mutiny nearly toppled the regime of Gen. Lansana Conté.

And perhaps most dramatically, there were armed clashes in Conakry between army soldiers and members of the presidential guard.

Wednesday, May 28, 2008

[Guinean news] Government makes concessions to mutineers

The BBC’s Network Africa program and Guinéenews are both reporting that the government has made concessions to the mutineers.

According to Guinéenews, the controversial new prime minister has agreed to:

-the payment of salary arrears to each soldier of 5 million FG (a little over US$1100) in five monthly installments;

-the firing of the defense minister;

-a decrease in the cost of subsidized rice available to the soldiers.

[Guinean news] Defense minister sacked; more army unrest

The Guinean defense minister Gen. Mamadou Bailo Diallo has been sacked, according to Guinéenews. No replacement has apparently been named.

The news caused panic in the capital as shooting was heard at the Samory Touré military camp in central Conakry.

“We don’t know if they are shots of joy or something else,” a Conakry resident explained to Guinéenews. The resident also claims to have seem vehicles filled with armed soldiers headed toward the presidential palace, reportedly to reinforce presidential security.

Mutinous soldiers also ransacked the home of Gen. Bailo in the coastal city of Dubréka, which is also the hometown of the head of state Gen. Lansana Conté.

Tuesday, May 27, 2008

[Guinean news] Sacking of PM condemned

The recent decision by head of state Gen. Lansana Conté to fire the national unity government prime minister Lansana Kouyaté has been widely condemned.

The UN’s IRIN news service called the sacking a ‘threat to stability,’ a prediction which seemed validated by yesterday’s kidnapping of the national army chief.

One of the main opposition parties, the Guinean People’s Rally (RPG), said it would refuse to participate in a government headed by any prime minister unilaterally appointed by Conté.

The RPG declaration was another blow for [the newly named prime minister Ahmed Tidiane] Souaré, who has said he would like to form a politically all-inclusive government to push ahead with reforms, noted Reuters.

Though the RPG had no members in the Kouyaté cabinet.

And perhaps most crucially, the Guinean trade unions have rejected Souaré’s appointment as a violation of last year’s agreement between them and Conté and threatened another general strike.

"We solemnly demand that this decree be revoked and if necessary a prime minister be named, complying with the profile defined in the accords," said Ibrahima Fofana, head of the USTG union.

Monday, May 26, 2008

[Guinean news] Army chief kidnaped by mutinous soldiers

Guinean soldiers have seized Gen. Mamadou Sampil after the army chief visited Camp Alpha Yaya Diallo to negotiate with them. The soldiers claim they have been owed money for 12 years, as they were promised more money following an army mutiny/attempted coup on 2-3 February 1996. Troops have mutinied over the issue several times in recent years. The BBC reports that shots were also fired at military camps in Kindia and N'Zérékoré.

Wednesday, May 21, 2008

[Guinean news] Conté sacks consensus prime minister

Guinean head of state Gen. Lansana Conté has fired Prime Minister Lansana Kouyaté and replaced him with Ahmed Tidiane Souaré, a former minister of mines and education and ally of the general.

The sacking of Kouyaté is noteworthy because the former diplomat was named head of government in order to bring an end to the 2007 general strike.

However, the BBC's correspondent in Conakry told Network Africa that one of the trade unions' leaders said the sacking of Kouyaté was not her problem and that labor would focus on what sort of people the new prime minister brought into the cabinet.

Public reaction to Kouyaté's sacking was generally muted, although protesters in his hometown of Kankan marched and burned tires.

Guinéenews reports that in Souaré's first public declaration, the new head of government would consult with Conté to form a government that would 'avoid exclusion.'

Kouyaté is the third prime minister in the last several years to be sacked or resign after a relatively brief time due to what many believe is the refusal of the clan surrounding Conté to cede any power to a reformist leader.

Thursday, May 08, 2008

[Immigration news] Mysterious deaths in New Jersey immigration facility

The New York Times had a disturbing article about the Elizabeth Detention Center, an immigration jail in New Jersey. The piece explores the mysterious circumstances of 66 detainee deaths that occurred in the facility between 2004-07. The piece features the story of a 52 year old tailor from Guinea who overstayed his tourist and somehow ended up in a coma with skull fractures and brain hemorrhages.

Monday, May 05, 2008

[FOG/RPCV news] Death of Two Sons film available on DVD

The production team of the Death of Two Sons film, including Guinea RPCV Micah Schaffer, passes along the following info:

Dear Friends and Colleagues,

Many of you have expressed to us what an important film you believe "Death of Two Sons" to be. Before the academic year comes to an end, we'd like to ask your help in getting the film seen by more people in a couple of easy places: your school and your public library.

If you are a student or teacher, or are otherwise affiliated with a school or college, please request that your school library or department purchase a copy for their collection.

You can also request the film at your local public library.

DVDs for sale at our website:

or by calling: 212-501-6260

The educational DVD for colleges and universities, which includes the rights to exhibit the film publicly, is $249.95.

High Schools and public libraries can purchase DVDs at the retail price of $24.95.

Once you've put in a request for a school or library to purchase a copy, please email us at contact @ so that we can follow up.

Many thanks to those of you who have helped get this film seen already.


Alrick, Micah, Claudine, Ralph, and the "Death of Two Sons" Production team.

Friday, May 02, 2008

[Blog news] Help diversify this blog!

In this blog, I generally post all kinds of news items relating to Guinea, the Peace Corps, FOG as well as development and human rights issues. If you have any news items or tips you'd like highlighted in the blog, please email me.

Furthermore, I would like to diversify the content in the blog by seeking outside submissions of all kinds. If you have any memoirs, old journal entries, political essays or any other writings on the above topics or subjects FOGers might be interested, please email it to me.

I'd like to make the blog one of the central sites in English for news, information and commentary about Guinea.

Brian Farenell
FOG Communications Director and Blog Admin
Email: communications @

Thursday, May 01, 2008

[Misc] Susu translator sought

FOG secretary Dr. Stephanie Chasteen passes this along:

The government contracting organization SOS International ( is seeking a US Citizen to translate some Susu text.

The pay rate is $40/hour. You would be emailed audio and text in Susu, and you would respond with an emailed translation.

Unfortunately the job does require that the translator be a US Citizen.

If you are interested, or know someone who might be, please contact Joshua Parker at joshua.parker @ with any questions.