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Who is Moussa Dadis Camara?

Text by FRANCE 24 (with wires)

Latest update : 2008-12-29

Captain Moussa Camara, who came to power on Wednesday in Guinea after a lightning coup, spent 17 years in the national army, where he was actively involved in military revolts in 2007 and 2008.

Captain Moussa Dadis Camara has claimed the title of President of Guinea since his supporters in the junta chose him as their leader on Wednesday.

“We are patriots, not hungry for power. We don’t intend to stay in power forever”, Camara told FRANCE 24’s Franck Berruyer during an interview. “We will hold free and transparent elections after 18 months to honor Guinea and its army.

He spent 17 years in his country's army under the regime of Guinea's former leader "General-President" Lansana Conte, who died on Monday.
 
According to some of his colleagues, Moussa Dadis Camara was one of the leaders of a spring 2007 revolt of soldiers demanding their back pay and better working conditions, AFP reports. The ensuing violence left eight dead.

He also participated in riots last May, when disgruntled soldiers demanded again - successfully - to be paid promised bonuses,and the release of certain military prisoners. A dozen died in clashes between rioting soldiers and the police.

Moussa Dadis Camara himself said on Wednesday that he had always been one to seek to restore "calm" in case of "events".
   
From the village of Kouré in the region N'Zérékoré (1,000 km south-east of Conakry) and from a farming family, he studied Law and Economics at the Abdel Nasser University at Conakry.

According to his classmates, he was not a brilliant student.
   
In 1990 he joined the army, six years after the coup that brought General Conté to power.

He rose to become head of the army's "fuel section".
   
Major Facinet Camara, who says he was his intructor, said: "He graduated from the most recent army staff college class and made several internships abroad, notably in Germany". 

Soldiers who supported his appointment as head of the junta spoke only of his "qualities", describing him as "someone nice, very sociable", "a man of action with a strong temperament who like to find immediate solutions to problems". He has the reputation of being a "hard-working" and "very ambitious" person.
   
Moussa Dadis Camara said of himself that he "did not come to power by chance", and that his new found position was the result of his "many qualities", his "patriotic spirit" and "generosity".

It remains to be seen if this “President Capitain” will succeed in controlling the country without using force and if he’ll organize democratic elections as promised.

 

Date created : 2008-12-25

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