Letter written by Diallo Telli to President Sekou Touré while in prison

“Boiro, December 24, 1976
To President Ahmed Sékou Touré

Dear President,
“On receiving your letter dated the 23rd, I wanted to answer it with a long, deep letter. But the new environment that was created prevents me. However, you will want to hear me on two points: a possible popular uprising and my new concerns.

“Regarding the first point, history has shown us that all regimes based on lies and strength perish by force. This popular relieve that haunts you, I never wished it for my country, but it is inevitable. A statement was obtained from me in which I stated I wanted to be president of the Republic of Guinea following a coup. Very sincerely between us, be serious. You know I do not know anything about this scenario. Since I do not know, how do you want me to train people in my so-called betrayal, the existence of which I deny both in substance and in form. You and I agree on one point: there was treason. But I am the victim. Because, in my opinion, if I betrayed Guinea and Africa for the benefit of the CEO [Touré], he betrayed me. Today, I blame myself for having delivered many people to a real hate campaign. But God is great. The underprivileged populations for whom I have a great esteem and admiration will be able to remain greater than you and me.

“To address the second part of my letter, everyone who knows me knows that I am not naive. Since being in cell 54 at Camp Boiro, my only concern is how to find the way to my Creator. For this purpose, I work to pray to Him to implore His forgiveness. I know that I was partly a victim of my education and perhaps of my religion. For in a family where there is no social morality, the one who has one is naturally designated as a victim. My only saviour is God. It’s too late to ask Him to get me out of Boiro. In the final analysis, I have a great deal of responsibility for this sad end. I pray to Him every day that my blood and my innocence will serve to build a free Guinea. As for my family, I cannot help them today. I have never been able to think of the respect, the love, the esteem, and the confidence that the beautiful people who engendered it has testified to me without reproaching me for all the wrongs that I have done to them.

“Despite your written commitment to pass my authentic statement on the radio, I doubt that you will do it. And yet, it is of great importance to me, because in the absence of a testament proper, it allows me to communicate with all those who grant me that moral credit that you would like to erase. While insisting strongly on my inability to live up to what they expected of me, I would like to tell them that wars have always imposed sacrifices, and that the loss of a soldier must not mean abandonment of the war. I must tell them that I look like one of those generals whose real value does not surpass that of an average soldier. I know that they have always been generous with me, so in the sad end I pray and remain grateful to them. I know that at the end of the road they will find me in their ranks, in the place of the average soldier I have always been.


This large tree, which I have become in the eyes of some, gave them neither shade nor fruit. Let him be cut down and give wood to their homes. A great contemporary has taught us that when a whole people drink the same water, listen to the same music, read the newspaper, wear the same clothes, etc., it is difficult for the individuals composing it to assert a personality. I did not derogate from this rule. But I firmly believe that this personality exists and that it will emerge from one of the four corners of our marvelous country and that it will give voice to its sons, so that they promote the appreciation of the motherland contribution of each one of us.

Because I betrayed Guinea and Africa in the service of the CEO, nothing will prevent the weight of the homeland to crush my body to extract the blood and soul that I am unworthy to wear. The son out of wedlock whom I have been to Guinea and Africa does not deserve the honours of his country. I ask all men and women to dig deep in their generosity in order to implore for me the forgiveness of Allah. Thank you to Allah Who created me. Thank you to Guinea, to Africa and to the men of the rest of the world who, in spite of my slender qualities of man, wanted to give birth to me, to raise me, to love me, and to respect in me the creature of Allah the All Powerful. I wish that after me in Guinea, in Africa or in any place of the world of the children, old men and women do not pay more in their life the irresponsibility of men who, instead of creating and maintaining freedom, torpedo her.
“Long live justice and freedom!

Diallo Telli. “

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