War Imminent In Guinea

The Perspective
Atlanta, Georgia

August 4, 2004

We have received information from credible military sources that everything seems to indicate that civil war is imminent in Guinea. According to our sources, recruiting and training of fighters have been taken place in Nimba and Lofa, on the Guinean border. The same informant, who spoke to us under the conditions of anonymity, says that there have also been movements of heavy weaponry from Liberia into Guinea, but could not say if these were newly imported weapons or the same ones that had been used in the recent Liberian war. Our informant also said that some factions in Liberia have sold their weapons to Guinean dissidents rather than turn them over to the United Nations Mission in Liberia.

At the time when situation is stabilizing in Sierra Leone but remains fragile in both in Liberia and Cote d’Ivoire, any explosion in Guinea could have dire consequences on the entire Mano River region and could jeopardize every success obtained so far. Guinea is the largest nation in the area and any major crisis in that country with the flow of refugees in either Liberia or Sierra Leone could lead to major humanitarian crisis and would turn the clock back on the success achieved in other countries.

Situation has been very instable in Guinea for years, with ailing and aging President Lansana Conteh hardly in control. Human rights violations, suppression of basic political rights and abject poverty combined with the high level of corruption in government have created a potentially explosive situation. A demoralized and over-politicized military as the one in Guinea could hardly stand in the way of well-trained and armed rebel group. In 1998, when dissidents attacked Guinea with the backing of Charles Taylor’s army, President Conteh relied on Liberian fighters to fight back. The group that formed the core of that resistance became known as LURD, the largest of Liberian warring factions being cu7rrently disarmed by UNMIL.

Our source did not tell us who was behind the recruitment and training of fighters as well as the transfer of weapons but said that at least one of the Liberian former faction is actively involved in the destabilization activity.