Guinea’s security forces have detained the son and brother-in-law of late President Lansana Conte in a drug-smuggling investigation, police and security officials said on Tuesday.

The detentions were a new challenge to Conte’s family since soldiers led by Captain Moussa Dadis Camara seized power following the president’s death in December.

Human rights activists welcomed the arrests as a sign of a return to the rule of law in the country, a major bauxite producer, but also said the military junta should not use the anti-drug crackdown to settle political scores.

Conte’s son Ousmane, an officer in Guinea’s army, was detained late on Monday and taken to the main military camp in the capital Conakry, a senior police official told Reuters.

Ousmane was arrested after Saturin Bangoura, the brother of the late president’s wife Henriette, confessed on state television on Monday to receiving tens of thousands of dollars in cash and goods from a “Colombian partner”.

“He (Ousmane Conte) was named by those who had already been arrested, so he had to be detained,” said a second senior police officer, who confirmed the arrest but asked not to be named.

Like other West African countries, Guinea has become a transit point for Colombian cocaine being smuggled for sale in Europe and elsewhere.



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