Meanwhile Guinea's military leader is in hospital in Morocco, recovering from a gunshot wound which is said to have lodged a splinter of bone into his brain.

The ruling junta has played down the seriousness of president Camara's injuries, saying his head was grazed by a bullet when a former aide allegedly shot at him at point blank range.

General Sekouba Konate, the vice president of the military junta, has taken charge in Camara's absence.

'Encouraging signs'

Alexandre Cece Loua, the country's foreign minister, said Camara's condition was "encouraging".

IN DEPTH

 Background: Tensions in Guinea
 Camara: A man of the people?
 'No alternative' to Guinea rule
"I saw him, I spoke to him, he answered me, all this shows that he retains his mental faculties," he told the AP news agency.

Camara was flown to Morocco on Friday, where he was operated on for cranial trauma at a military hospital.

"There has been no estimate for ... how long it will be before he returns," Loua said.

"He is responding well to the treatment he has been prescribed and there is no worry over his life."

Gunfire broke out on Sunday evening after state TV announced a toll-free phone number where citizens could call if they had information about Abubakar "Toumba" Diakite, the former aide alleged to be the would-be assassin.

Presidential elections are expected in Guinea at the end of January, but those plans have been affected by news that Camara, who seized power in a coup a year ago, intended to run as a candidate.