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Africa
Guinea demands coup leader's return
Military government's condition could undermine moves to restore civilian rule.
Last Modified: 15 Jan 2010 10:26 GMT
Camara was taken out of Guinea for treatment after being shot by a former aide last month [File: AFP]

Guinea's military rulers have said its wounded leader must be sent home from Burkina Faso, where he is recovering from injuries sustained when he was shot by a former aide last month.

Thursday's demand directly contradicted an earlier statement from General Sekouba Konate, the government's second-in-command, that said Camara would not be allowed to return to Guinea.

Since he took control following the wounding of Camara, Konate has initiated steps to return the country to civilian rule, with the support of the US and France. 

"The collective members of [the government] and the chiefs of staff of the armies of air, sea and land stand in solidarity behind General Sekouba Konate's call for a rapid transition," the statement read on state radio said.

"But we encourage and ask for the quick return of Captain Moussa 'Dadis' Camara to Conakry. We are recommending that General Sekouba Konate bring him back," it said.

Konate has been meeting Camara in Ouagadougou, the Burkina Faso capital, for talks on whether he should remain abroad.

Guinea delegation

Late on Thursday, Konate was joined by a delegation from the military government, the members of which said they would not return without Camara.

"We have come to bring back our president"

Colonel Moussa Keita,
Guinea government's permanent secretary

"We have been sent by the sovereign and independent people of Guinea," Colonel Moussa Keita, the military government's permanent secretary, said.

"We have come to bring back our president."

Washington said it was hoping Blaise Compaore, the president of Burkina Faso, would be able to persuade Camara not to return to Conakry. 

"We would hope that Blaise Compaore holds on to Dadis, allows him to convalesce there, because I don't think he's fully recovered, and Konate be given the opportunity to return and continue transition with civilians," William Fitzgerald, the US deputy assistant secretary of state for African affairs, told the AFP news agency.

"It's very important for the United States that he [Camara] remains out of Guinea while this very fragile transition is going  on."

Power seized

Camara seized power following the death of Lasana Conte, the president, in December 2008.

He promised to hold elections within the year and address rampant corruption in the desperately poor country.

However, suggestions that he did not intend to step down sparked public protests.

During one demonstration at a stadium in Conakry, the presidential guard opened fire on the protesters leading to the deatsh of an estimated 156 people and opening Camara to accusations of crimes against humanity.

However, he has not been formally charged by any court and there is no legal ground for Burkina Faso to prevent him from leaving for Guinea.

Source:
Agencies
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