The former dictator of Guinea, Moussa Dadis Camara, has been apprehended and returned to prison.
This occurred shortly after an apparent jailbreak attempt led by a heavily armed commando, as confirmed by the army and his lawyer.
In the earlier operation that triggered intense gunfire in the capital city of Conakry, at least two other former officials who were on trial alongside Camara for their involvement in a 2009 massacre during his presidency were also taken into custody, as reported by a minister and legal representatives.
“Captain Moussa Dadis Camara has been found safe and sound and taken back to prison,” an army spokesperson told AFP, without specifying the circumstances of the capture.
One of Camara’s lawyers, Jocamey Haba, told AFP his client was back behind bars.
Justice Minister Alphonse Charles Wright said earlier that at around 0500 GMT “heavily armed men” burst into the prison and “managed to leave with four (prisoners)… notably Captain Moussa Dadis Camara”.
He said the borders had been closed.
It was unclear whether Camara had escaped of his free will.
The army described the operation as an attempt to “sabotage” government reforms and swore its “unwavering commitment” to the current military-led authorities.
A judicial source, speaking on condition of anonymity, said the masked and heavily armed soldiers who arrived at Conakry’s central prison declared they “had come to free” Camara.
Inside, the group headed towards his cell, appearing to already know its location, the source said.
Haba told AFP he believed his client had been “kidnapped” and his life was “in danger”.
“He has confidence in the justice of his country, which is why he would never try to escape,” he added, referring to the ongoing trial against Camara.
Wright also said Colonel Moussa Tiegboro Camara – another of the men taken from prison – had since been “recaptured”.
Tiegboro Camara’s lawyer said he had escaped from what he described as his “captors”.