CONAKRY, Guinea – The head of Guinea's treasury was gunned down as she was driving home in what her colleagues describe as a brazen assassination aimed at silencing an official who had launched an investigation into the disappearance of millions in state funds.
The forensic doctor who examined the body of treasury chief Aissatou Boiro after she was brought to the morgue Friday night said she had two bullet wounds to the chest and died of internal bleeding.
"She was hit by two bullets in the heart, and died from hemorraghing. The bullets were shot from a close distance, which makes it clear that they were intended to kill her," said the doctor at the Ignace Deen Hospital in Conakry, who requested anonymity because he was not authorized to speak on the subject.
The government issued a statement which was broadcast on state television on Saturday evening, saying that Boiro had been killed by a group of men wearing military uniforms. Security forces have launched a manhunt to try to find and arrest the gunmen, the statement said.
The shooting occurred on Friday evening in the Kipe neighborhood of the capital, Conakry. Resident Siradiou Soiree said he was preparing a cup of tea, when he heard shooting outside.
"We saw a car driving in all directions before it eventually came to a halt. We saw a woman covered in blood, apparently dead, who was being loaded into a car to be taken to the hospital," said Soiree.
Boiro was named to head the country's treasury eight months ago by President Alpha Conde. Guinea has a long history of allowing officials to pillage its treasury. During the last years of ex-President Lansana Conte's rule, employees of the treasury said they would routinely see the president's convoy drive up to their building and leave with bags of cash.
Boiro had zero-tolerance for corruption and was intent on putting an end to the mismanagement of state funds, say two of her colleagues. She had launched an investigation into the loss of 13 million francs ($1.8 million) which went missing from the state coffers.
"The National Treasury is a sensitive department. We don't name just anyone to lead it. She was an honest woman who was against all forms of corruption. But in Guinea all of the cases of large-scale embezzlement happen at the treasury department. She became inconvenient for certain economic predators who are in the government," said economist Idrissa Camara, a former official at the treasury.