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Guinea Leader’s Former 2-i-c Dies In Detention Post-sentencing

SADIBA Koulibaly, the former second-in-command to Guinea’s ruling general Mamady Doumbouya, died in detention on June 24, just days after being sentenced by a military court. Koulibaly, who was sentenced to five years on June 14 for desertion and weapon offences, passed away under what his lawyer describes as suspicious circumstances.

Koulibaly, who played a key role in the 2021 coup that brought the current military government to power, was convicted in a trial that his supporters have called unjust and politically motivated.


Prosecutors at a military tribunal issued a statement confirming Koulibaly’s death and noted that an autopsy suggested severe psychological trauma and prolonged stress likely led to a heart attack. However, his lawyer, Mory Doumbouya, expressed doubts about the official cause of death, suggesting it was due to ‘anything but natural causes.’

Doumbouya emphasised that Koulibaly was ‘healthy and calm’ prior to his detention and had not reported any health issues since his arrest on June 4. He also criticised the authorities for holding Koulibaly in a secret location and denying his defence team access.

Koulibaly’s arrest and subsequent death have intensified the political unrest in Guinea, a country already grappling with turmoil since the 2021 coup. The opposition continues to demand a return to civilian rule. Under international pressure, the junta had initially agreed to organise elections by the end of 2024. However, Prime Minister Amadou Oury Bah, appointed by the military, recently suggested extending military rule until at least 2025.

After the coup, Koulibaly was appointed as the Guinean army’s chief of staff, a position he held until May 2023 before becoming charge d’affaires at the nation’s embassy in Cuba. He returned to Guinea in May to address unpaid salaries for embassy staff, leading to his arrest on charges of abandoning his post and possession of weapons found at his home.

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