Military leaders who’ve seized power in Guinea have released about 80 prisoners ahead of a summit of the West African grouping Ecowas.
The leaders of the Ecowas bloc are due to meet virtually on Wednesday to discuss the Guinea coup and the political transition in Mali.
The prisoners had been opponents of President Alpha Condé, who was ousted by special forces under the command of Lieutenant Colonel Mamady Doumbouya.
He has accused Mr Condé, 83, of rampant corruption, human rights abuses and mismanagement.
Ismaël Condé, a member of the opposition UFDG party, said his time in prison had been difficult, but he was now hoping for a better future for his country:
“It’s a feeling you can’t explain, to be deprived of your freedom for 12 months for such trivial things and to be released under these conditions, you can’t explain,” he said.
Dr Mamady Onivogui, a democracy and human rights activist, told reporters after his release that had no regrets and was looking move to a better future:
“I hope that the junta will do something so that Guineans can get along, so that Guineans can move forward, because we are more than 60 years into our independence and it’s dragging on.”
Guinea is rich in natural resources – including bauxite needed to make aluminium – but years of unrest and mismanagement mean it is one of the world’s poorest countries.
Bauxite prices have hit a 10-year high since the coup.