CONAKRY, Guinea (AP) — Authorities in Senegal have arrested a former Guinean military leader long sought in connection with a 2009 stadium massacre that killed more than 150 people, Guinean officials confirmed Tuesday.
Abubakar "Toumba" Diakite was the head of the presidential guard at the time of the massacre, and an investigative commission later determined he was to blame for ordering the violence. An Interpol notice was issued for him five years ago.
Ibrahima Beavogui, spokesman for Guinea's justice ministry, confirmed that Diakite had been arrested in Senegal's capital, Dakar, where he had been living under a fake name for an undetermined amount of time.
"Toumba was arrested thanks to the solidarity of international justice," he said. "He will be tried in Guinea. That is our wish."
Diakite went into hiding in late 2009 after he tried to assassinate coup leader Moussa "Dadis" Camara by shooting him in the head several months after the mass killings. He emerged briefly at one point to do an interview with Radio France Internationale in which he said he had shot Camara because the junta leader tried to blame him for the massacre.
The news of Diakite's arrest was welcomed by a group representing massacre survivors and victims' families.
"We have confidence in the Guinean justice system to hold this trial in Guinea," said Asmaou Diallo, the group's president.
The U.N. special representative on sexual violence in conflict, Zainab Hawa Bangura, also welcomed the arrest. There were at least 109 victims of sexual assault at the stadium on Sept. 28, 2009.
"What this arrest signals is that you can run but you cannot hide, as justice will always catch up with you," said Bangura. "The international community will work as long as it takes to ensure perpetrators of these crimes face justice."
Associated Press writers Krista Larson and Babacar Dione in Dakar, Senegal, contributed.