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Friday, December 4, 2009

Guinean Junta Leader Shot In The Head, Re-evacuted To Morocco

Lt Diakite (r) is accused of trying to shoot dead Capt Moussa Dadis Camara
Guinea's military leader, Capt Moussa Dadis Camara, has been flown to Morocco for medical treatment after being shot by an aide on Thursday, officials say.

They had earlier said that Capt Camara had only been lightly wounded in the attack and was in "good health".

Separate reports say the international airport in the capital Conakry has been surrounded by presidential guards.

This is believed to be the first time Capt Camara has left the country since seizing power last December.

Analysts say he may fear a counter-coup in his absence and so his departure indicates that his condition may be serious.

But this was denied by government minister Keletigui Faro.

"His condition is not very serious but he'll need to undergo extensive medical tests in Morocco," he told the BBC French service for Africa.

"No bullet penetrated the president's body. There was just a graze on the head. He is walking normally and speaking with people," said Communications Minister Idrissa Cherif, reports Reuters news agency

Morocco has said it will treat Capt Camara for humanitarian reasons, even though it had not been informed of his arrival.

He has not been seen in public or appeared on national TV or radio since the shooting.

A Senegalese medical team flew to Guinea to treat him on Thursday night.

The whereabouts of Aboubacar "Toumba" Diakite, the officer who allegedly tried to kill Capt Camara, and his former aide-de-camp, is unclear.

Mr Cherif had said he had been arrested after the shooting but reports on Friday say road-blocks have been set up in Conakry by security forces trying to find him.

Maj Faro said Lt Diakite had gone into hiding.

Analysts say the shooting highlights deep rifts within the junta after the killing of an estimated 157 opposition supporters in September.

"Election About-turn"

BBC West Africa correspondent Caspar Leighton says the presence of a UN investigation team in Conakry this week has heightened concerns among some parts of the military that they may be singled out by the government to take the blame for the attack.

Lt Diakite has been accused by witnesses and human rights groups of commanding the troops who carried out the massacre. Several women have reported being gang-raped by soldiers.

The military authorities insist that 58 people died, most of whom were trampled to death, not shot.

Capt Camara was at first popular when he seized power after years of autocratic rule and promised not to remain in power.

However, that has changed since he appeared to renege on that promise and hinted that he might stand in elections scheduled for January.

This culminated in the massive protest on 28 September and the brutal crackdown.

Arms embargoes and travel restrictions have been imposed against the junta by the European Union and West African alliance Ecowas.

The EU has called for Capt Camara to be tried for crimes against humanity, while the African Union has been urging him to stand down.
Source: BBC/Africa

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