Guinea bestows national honors on crash victims

The Government of Guinea at a state funeral presided over by Guinean President Alpha Conde has honored 11 of its top military officers who recently died in a plane crash in Liberia, the Heritage has learnt. A CASA Aircraft (CN35) 3X-GGG conveying senior Guinean government officials to Liberia’s 56th Armed Forces Day celebrations Monday, February 11, 2013 crashed in Charlesville, Margibi County, close to the country’s lone international airport, the Roberts International Airport (RIA), killing eleven people.

Wreckage of the airliner was beyond recognition as rescue workers, including Red Cross workers and other health workers, who later trooped to the crash scene, removed charred bodies of victims from the burnt aircraft which crash landed few kilometers from the RIA.

A presidential statement issued in Guinea Monday through that country’s ministry of defense confirmed the deaths of Guinean army chief of staff, Gen. Souleymane Kelefa Diallo and ten others, who were part of an official Guinean government delegation aboard the crashed aircraft bound for this year’s celebration of Liberia’s Armed Forces Day.

Reports gathered by this paper divulged that two pilots were also killed in the crash, adding that the crashed CASA Aircraft (CN35) was an official Guinean military aircraft bought for Guinea’s air force for US$12 million.

The reports revealed that a statement from the office of Guinean President Alpha Conde, quotes the Guinean leader as immediately appointing Gen. Namory Traore as interim army chief of staff of Guinea.

However, on Wednesday, 13 February 2013, the late Gen. Diallo, former chief of staff of the Guinean army, and 10 other senior military officers were eulogized with state honor. Guinean President Conde decorated fallen army chief of staff Diallo with the rank of Dignity of Grand Officer of the National Order of Merit of the Republic of Guinea.

The Guinean leader also named the ten other fallen officers as Commanders of the National Order of Merit.

Those honored include: Commandant Mahal Diallo; Mamodou Conde, Commandant Abodrame Camara, Adjutant Bangoura, Mustapha Sangare, Col. Mamadou Celou Dalin Diallo, Soriba Diawara  and Mohamed Koumbassa.

Meanwhile, Guinea yesterday ended the observance of three days of mourning for the fallen officers who were honored at the Wednesday’s ceremony.

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