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Thursday, August 13, 2009

Guinea coup leader 'must stay on'

Military leader Captain Moussa Dadis Camara
Capt Camara declared himself president days after the coup

Supporters of Guinea's self-declared president, Captain Moussa Dadis Camara, have formed a movement to call for him to be allowed to continue in office.

Members of the new group, Dadis Must Stay, want him to stand for office in the next election, scheduled for 2010.

Capt Camara has previously said he would not stand for the post.

He emerged as the leader of a group of army officers who seized power in a bloodless coup in December 2008, after the death of President Lansana Conte.

Aly Manet, who says he is a spokesman for the new movement, told the BBC's French service that the captain should be able to remain as president.

He said all of the "healthy" and "patriotic" sections of society supported Captain Camara's continued rule regardless of what "obscure forces in the pay of the so-called international community" might think.

The junta set up a new ruling body, the 32-member National Council for Democracy and Development (CNDD), to replace the government and other institutions.

They pledged to rid the country of corruption and improve living standards during a two-year transition, after which an election would be held.

Capt Camara declared himself "president of the republic" the day after the coup, but he also maintained he had no intention of clinging to power.

His rule has been characterised by eccentric displays of power - such as forcing members of the elite presidential guard to beg for forgiveness on national TV after they roughed up a veteran soldier.

And several top officials, including the son of the late president, have been arrested and accused of drugs trafficking since the coup.

Guinea, along with neighbouring countries, has become a major transit point for smuggling cocaine from Latin America to Europe.

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