Did Kaddafi Try to Bribe Conte for Taylor?
March 6, 2001
Jeune Afrique, the Paris-based African magazine, has reported in its current issue that Guinea's President Lansana Conte recently rejected a US$500,000 "gift" from Libyan leader Kaddafi.
The reasons for the gift were not known, but it is believed that Libya is trying to influence Guinea to go along with Charles Taylor's regional schemes aimed at backing Sierra Leone's rebels of the Revolutionary United Front(RUF). Both Taylor and the detained Sierra Leone rebel leader, Foday Sankoh, received their training in Libya.
The money was allegedly taken to Conakry in a suitcase by Libyan
envoy, Mr. Ali Abdessalam Treiki. Treiki, who in the 70s announced
that, "a bag of cash can take care of any problem in Africa,"
is believed to center his diplomacy on bribing corrupt African
leaders. Taylor's war was bankrolled by Tripoli and Libya now
maintains a stronghold in the West African country. One of the
country's oldest hotels, the Ducor Hotel, was recently turned
over to Libya for 30 years in a renewable contract.
Jeune Afrique said Kaddafi's special envoy went to pay a friendly visit to Guinea and was received in audience by Lansana Conte. According to witnesses to the meeting, the Libyan Envoy had brought a valise containing cash in the amount of 1/2 of a million dollars, as a gesture from the leader of the Jamahirya. Conteh refused the money.
According to Jeune Afrique, few days before Treiki's visit, Guinean forces had arrested a rebel at the Guinean border with Liberia who admitted having been trained in Libya and entering in Guinea through Liberia.
Meanwhile, the Freetown newspaper Concord Times reports that Mohamed Touré, the son of Sekou Touré, was seen by UN Peacekeeping forces in Kono, in northern Sierra Leone, trying to recruit RUF fighters to go into Guinea and fight. Toure has reportedly been based in Liberia under Taylor's protection. According to the London-based African Confidential and other reports, Taylor has been working with Guinean dissidents to invade their country and repeat his Sierra Leone operations.