Guinea junta army chief dies in mystery detention

Sadiba Koulibaly, a key figure in the 2021 Guinean coup, died in military custody on June 24th. 

Koulibaly, who served as the right-hand man to junta leader Mamady Doumbouya, had recently been sentenced to five years in prison by a military court on charges of desertion and weapons offenses.

Koulibaly’s lawyer, Mory Doumbouya, contests the official cause of death attributed to “severe psychological trauma” by military prosecutors. 

Doumbouya claims his client was healthy and raises concerns about the secrecy surrounding Koulibaly’s detention, alleging his team was denied access. 

This death adds another layer of tension to Guinea’s ongoing political turmoil.

The 2021 coup that brought Doumbouya to power has faced international pressure to return Guinea to civilian rule. 

Initial agreements aimed for elections by the end of 2024, but the military has since backtracked, proposing a delay until at least 2025.

Koulibaly’s role in the coup initially saw him appointed as the Guinean army’s chief of staff. He later served as a diplomat in Cuba before returning to Guinea in May 2023. 

His return reportedly aimed to secure unpaid salaries for embassy staff, but he was arrested shortly after on charges of abandoning his post and weapons possession.

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