Guinean President Lansana Conte announced that former prime minister Diarra Traore, responsible for a foiled coup attempt on July 4, had been captured and "will be executed with pleasure," probably on Monday.
Addressing a crowd of 50,000 to 100,000 persons gathered in front of the People's Palace, the president said that the former prime minister, who had been found last night "hiding under a bed, . . . will not be allowed to breathe. Let everyone understand, I will kill all of those who have been arrested. From now on, those who cause death in Guinea will be killed."
Conte said he had decided that Traore and his coconspirators were to be shot by firing squad without delay, adding: "If anyone wants to intercede on their behalf in the name of human rights, he had better do it today, because tomorrow will be too late."
Traore went into hiding after loyal troops crushed his attempt to seize power in the West African nation while Conte was out of the country. A national police officer told reporters that Traore and 18 other leading conspirators were arrested after tipoffs from the general public.
Some reports have indicated that as many as 29 government officials have been arrested for involvement in the foiled coup.
Conte said he had advance information of the plot and even received a list of the top conspirators before he left Conakry last week to preside at a summit meeting of the Economic Community of West African States in Lome, capital of Togo. He implied that the government deliberately allowed the plotters to show their hand while secretly planning swift action to crush the coup when it came.
Conte said tough security measures would remain in force throughout the capital to prevent renewed looting of shops and other property belonging to Traore's majority Malinke tribe. Extensive damage was caused to Malinke-owned property, including Traore's home, immediately after the coup was foiled.
Conte is a member of the minority Soussou tribe, which predominates in the Conakry area.
The capital was quiet Sunday, The Associated Press reported, with loyal troops and national police in position at most strategic points.
Conte said that Traore had not participated in the coup that brought the present military government to power in 1984, following the death of the country's first president, Ahmed Sekou Toure, but that Traore at that time was "plotting to launch a countercoup when junior officers told him that we had the situation in hand."
The president charged that documents prepared by the former prime minister indicated that Traore planned to release the imprisoned officials of the former regime, with the intention of bringing some of them into his government. Conte said, "All of those who were to be brought back to power, along with those who plotted the coup, will be executed with pleasure."
The president thanked the population of Conakry for "bringing him back to power" and asked them to observe a minute of silence for "our 18 brothers and sisters killed and 229 wounded by the mercenaries of the July 4 coup attempt."
Military sources have indicated that 29 government officials have been arrested for involvement in the failed coup.