- The Guinean government has released the news editor of an independent weekly newspaper and the lawyer of an opposition politician, who disappeared following last month's assassination attempt on President Lansana Conté, after holding them in custody for three days.
Benn Pepito, the news editor of 'La Lance', and Paul Yomba Korouma, a lawyer who had been acting for missing opposition politician Antoine Soromou, were arrested within hours of each other on Wednesday night. They were both freed on Saturday.
Editor Pepito told reporters in the Guinean capital Conakry: "I was detained on allegations of terrorism against the state and conspiracy with regard to the attack on the motorcade of President Lansana Conté at Enco 5 [cinque] last month."
- I was also questioned over my relationship with Antoine Bokolou Soromou, the editor added. Mr Soromou is allegedly suspected of being connected to the recent attempt on President Conté's life.
Mr Pepito said Mr Soromou's lawyer, Mr Korouma, had also been released. The lawyer, who was not immediately available for comment, has claimed publicly that Mr Soromou was kidnapped, apparently by government agents.
Mr Soromou is a former mayor of the south-eastern town of Lola and leader of the National Alliance for Development, a relatively small opposition party, according to official numbers.
He and veteran opposition leader Alpha Condé were jailed from 1998 to 2000 on charges of plotting to overthrow President Conté, charges that have widely been seen as an attempt to silence the opposition. On his release in 2000, Mr Soromou moved to Côte d'Ivoire, where he set up a timber business.
He returned to Guinea in late 2004 and was arrested on 6 January on the grounds that he had entered the country without a valid passport. He was held for a week before being released on 13 January on police bail.
However, Mr Soromou disappeared completely following an incident on 19 January when armed men fired on the President's motorcade in Conakry, seriously injuring a bodyguard. The Guinean government has described this incident as an attempted coup d'état and alleges that Mr Soromou is connected to it.
Editor Pepito had followed the Soromou saga closely and had written several articles about government harassment of the opposition politician and his possible disappearance.
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