High-level Guinean delegation meets President Bio in Freetown

Sierra Leone Telegraph: 8 February 2021:

A high-level delegation led by the Guinean Minister of Foreign Affairs and Guineans Abroad, Dr Ibrahim Khalil Kaba, today conveyed a letter from Guinea’s President Alpha Conde to President Dr Julius Maada Bio at State House in Freetown.

The Guinean team comprisingof  the minister – Dr Kaba, Guinean Ambassador to Sierra Leone – Tejan Conde, and other top-ranking officials from the country’s Ministry of National Defence and Ministry of Security and Civil Protection held a closed-door meeting with President Bio and his government.

Tension has been rising between Guinea and Sierra Leone over the disputed border town of Yenga in the east of Sierra Leone.

Sierra Leone is accusing the Guinean military of invading and occupying Yenga. Successive governments of Sierra Leone have tried to resolve the dispute without success.

Also present at the meeting, representing the government of Sierra Leone were the Speaker of Parliament, Dr Abass Chernor Bundu, Minister of Foreign Affairs, Nabeela Tunis, Minister of Defence, Brig. (Rtd) Kellie Conteh, Minister of Information and Communications, Mohamed Swaray and his deputy Mamadi Gobeh Kamara, and the Ambassador to Guinea, Alimamy Bangura.

According to State House report in Freetown, this visit comes almost two weeks after President Bio sent a delegation to Conakry to engage President Conde on the border closure at Kambia, as well as reports of increased incursions by Guinean troops into Yenga.

Three weeks ago, President Bio raised the issue at the 58th Ordinary Session of the ECOWAS Authority of Heads of State and Government, but no resolution was passed by the regional body.

9 Comments

  1. For God’s sake let’s forget about which party is right or wrong. Because right now Sierra Leone our country is going back to the darken days and which is something I believe we all will not wish to see. Not withstanding that,I am calling on President Bio to try and talk with the guinean government especially the President for him to see reasons in the plights of the Sierra Leoneans. Finally,I want to send this message to Sierra Leone and most particularly the leaders, please what Sierra Leone needs now is nothing but peace and development.

    Please to the government of President Bio and to all leaders,we the citizens are calling for progress, development and stability. Please!!! All these threats and fight will bring us nothing but continuing backwardness.

  2. The Guineans are our brothers. They fought in the long civil war without any recompense. They gave us refuge in our time of need. If there is an issue, it should be resolved amicably by communication. If the VP is accused of interference in internal Guinean politics, the Guineans should be assured that it is not true or shall not happen again.

  3. President Bio knows the bitterness of war when he sacrificed his life by enlisting in the military to defend not only our nation but the entire ECOWAS during our 11 years civil war. That’s the reason why he decided to formally informed the ECOWAS leaders to solve this problem once and for all. The destructive APC party spent 11 years as the LAPDOG for President Alpha Conde. Suddenly, they are now using their propaganda machine the Cocorioko newspaper and social media to instigate war between the two countries hoping to see Yenga and the boarder town in Guinea destabilized so they can use that region to launch a civil war when they eventually lose the 2023 presidential elections.

    There are information about the destructive APC party opening an Office in Conakry. President Bio is renowned as one of the peace makers in Africa based on the fact that he co – hosted the recent peace building fundraising with the current UN Secretary General Mr. Antonio Guterres and donated $ 1 million. He also owns a bachelor and master’s degree in peace building and is surrounded with peace Professors like the Chief Minister Mr. David Francis and Minister of Tourism Mrs. Memunatu Pratt.

    I hope and pray that President Alpha Conde will respect the treaties of not only the Mono River Union but also ECOWAS for the free movement of Citizens, goods and services across the boarders ,because I tried to imagine New York State closing their boarder with New Jersey in the USA. I hope he has already learned a lesson from former President Charles Taylor of Liberia that aggression against Sierra Leone has consequences. The scripture says: “ Blessed are the peace makers, for they will be called children of the Almighty”.

  4. Well this is one of the messages I always say on this platform, it doesn’t matter what you do or say, if someone is your enemy they will never be on your side. Praising dictator in a democratic country, and putting your own President’s good efforts down in the eyes of the world, actually is” unheard off”. In this regard, The President, H.E. Alpha Conde deserves no praise in the eyes of the world. Yenga town belongs to Sierra Leone period.

    Thanks to H.E. Rtd. Brig. Dr. J.M. Bio’s restless efforts to go through ECOWAS first. He has demonstrated to show to the world that, indeed he’s a peaceful leader. Long live to you Papa Bio. But I believe that some of us are very frustrated today because, the former President H.E. Ernest Bai Koroma did not fight hard as Alpha Conde did.

  5. When India tested their nuclear weapon in 1974, the then Pakistani prime minister, Zufilka Ali Bhutto vowed that Pakistan would enter the nuclear age even if they had to eat grass. And they did after a few years. Pakistan and India were once the same country under India until 1948 when Pakistan broke away. Guineans and Sierra Leoneans are virtually the same people, but this should not mean that we should let our guard down and continue to be disrespected by Guinea at will because we are militarily weak. The lesson from India and Pakistan is that they have learned to co-exist without military confrontation for much of the time because they know each other’s strength. The same situation exists between the Americans and the Russians , that’s why they are always in talks to reduce their weapon capabilities. There shall never be a direct military confrontation between them because both are assured of mutual destination. The world only understands and respects strength, not weakness.

    The weakness of the Sierra Leone army goes all the way back to the days of Siaka Stevens who became distrustful of them because of perceived threat to his autocratic tendencies which were fast gathering pace. Stopping short of disbanding the army, he created the ISU (Internal Security Unit) to counter any moves by the army to get rid of him. A major consequence of the weakening of our army is what is in display right at this moment. The Guinean President, Alpha Conde, knows how weak our army is, and that’s why he is sure that he can send his troops into Yenga at any time and close the border between us , even though the colonial powers (France and Britain) had ascertained that Yenga belonged to Sierra Leone, with the help of maps drawn up during the colonial era.

    There are two lessons here to be learned. The first is directed at Alpha Conde, the Guinean President. By closing the border with Sierra Leone the Guinean leader hurts his country’s economy since Sierra Leoneans cannot go there anymore to buy goods and conduct other business. Perhaps the more important lesson is for Bio and his gang to declare six months in which certain commodities can be imported free of custom duties. Such importation should not be just confined to regular importers. The government ministry responsible for such matters should be made to organise petty traders for them to pull their resources together for the purpose.

  6. Wonderful news indeed! Dialogue in the form of bilateral negotiations seems to produce the desired effect. Bio has made the right move and Conde has duly and fraternally reciprocated. May the peace that will result from this last, making the use of military force not only redundant but forever pointless and out of place. And to intone and extend the reach of Mr Matturi’s beautiful words, I say vive le peuple de Guinee! Vive le peuple de Sierra Leone!

  7. Eventually, the border impasse is going to be peacefully resolved, and normality will resume. I think it is in the interests of both countries, that peace prevails.

  8. Engaging ECOWAS makes no sense in resolving this dispute. The Guineans are our brothers and sisters. We can resolve our grievances and problems amicably well without foreign interference. The problem with the Yenga standoff is trust. President Bio and his advisers must prove to the Guineans that they are a trusted partner and a peaceful neighbour. God bless the Republic of Sierra Leone, the Republic of Guinea and the Cool headed President Professor Alpha Conde. Vivre le President Professeur Alpha Conde et la liberte.

  9. In the 70s Prime Minister Siaka Stevens government was standing on shaky ground, due to alleged military coups. On few occasions Guinean soldiers were sent to Freetown to prop up the Stevens government. Siaka Stevens, a clever and astute politician realised the only way he can govern Sierra Leone, was to sign a military defence pact with Guinea. He formed a close bond with the Guinean tyrant Ahmed Seaku Turay. Back then no-one talked of Yenga. But it was there in the background. It was the RUF wars that resuscitated the issues. Here was Stevens, who won the 1967 elections, but was denied taking office and was sent packing to exile in Conakry by the head of the Sierra Leone military, Brigadier David Lansana because he thinks he did not deserve the win.

    Later he was removed by Colonel Andrew Juxon-Smith and he formed a military council, after a meeting in the Lancaster conference with the British colonial authority in London. The best government Sierra leone ever had. His government lasted a year. From the outset and his first radio broadcast, Mr Smith said he will work to get rid of tribal differences in the country. He said tribalism has poisoned our politics. He was right back then and right today. Even these Yenga issues is due to Tribalism by Conde. Colonel Juxon-Smith, blamed the first coup on tribal differences that denied Stevens his electoral win. I wonder what happened to that initial defence pact with Guinea? Because the whole idea of signing a defence pact with your neighbour is in the event you or both of you come under attack by a third party, then you come to each other’s aid.

    In this case, the person doing the attacking and wanting to seize lands belonging to Sierra Leone, is the Guinean dictator Alpha Conde. This Yenga is a issue was resolved in 2012. If we look at the map of Guinea and Sierra Leone, our country is literally surrounded by Guinea, and carried like the way a Kangaroo carries it’s baby. If we cede Yenga, next time will be Falaba, or kambia. We should not entertain any policy of appeasement, because it will lead to further claims. Geographically we are surrounded by Guinea on most sides. If you want to know the real story in all this, Alpha Conde sees red any time he hears our Vice President’s name – Juldeh Jalloh. Where is our vice president in that meeting in State House? I think he should be fronting it.

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