Junta leader Camara wounded in assassination bid, former aide arrested
Guinea's junta leader, Captain Moussa Dadis Camara (pictured), was wounded in an attack by his former aide de camp and is being evacuated to Senegal for treatment. Camara's spokesman said the aide, Toumba Diakite, had been arrested.
AFP - Guinea's junta chief was shot and wounded in a murder bid by an aide on Thursday, officials said, amid uncertainty over his condition and high tension after a recent massacre of opposition supporters.
One government official said on state radio that Captain Moussa Dadis Camara had been "lightly injured" in the incident, while another announced that the aide had been arrested.
Camara's spokesman said the junta leader was "doing well," but a Senegalese official said his country had sent a medical plane to evacuate Camara to Dakar.
"Senegal has sent a medical plane to Conakry to bring Dadis to Dakar," the official said on condition of anonymity.
"He is injured. We don't know the degree and the nature of his injury."
Witnesses had earlier reported hearing gunfire in the capital of the West African country and seeing soldiers deploying in the streets.
The incident occurred with tensions having mounted in Guinea following a massacre of opposition supporters at a stadium rally in September.
Idrissa Cherif, the spokesman for Camara, did not give further details on his condition, but warned the aide responsible would face a heavy penalty.
"His ex-aide de camp, Toumba Diakite, made an attempt on the life of the head of state, but thanks to God, the president is doing well," Cherif told AFP by phone.
Camara was now located at the Alpha Yaya Diallo military camp, which is the headquarters for the junta, along with other military leaders, he said.
"We are in the process of drawing conclusions from tonight," the spokesman said.
The murder attempt occurred at Camp Koundara in Conakry's administrative centre, he said. Witnesses had earlier reported hearing the sounds of gunfire coming from the camp.
Diakite "has been located, meaning arrested," Cherif said.
"When you attack a head of state, you attack state security," he said. "Those who wanted to make an attempt on the life of President Dadis will face a punishment in accordance with the gravity of the act that they wanted to carry out."
Asked what the motive was for the murder attempt, Cherif made reference to the stadium massacre.
"The president called for transparency with the international commission of inquiry to find out what happened at the stadium," he said.
"I am not saying that it is for that reason ... but know that the president has always wanted complete transparency".
The aide, who had previously been in charge of personal security for the junta chief, has been accused by witnesses of being one of the leaders of the massacre.
Asked about dissension within the military, Cherif said "the head of state is today with all the armed forces chiefs of staff. That has nothing to do with a small number of individuals who wanted to make an attempt on (his) life."
Government official Keletigui Faro gave few details of the incident on state radio.
"An unfortunate incident has occurred this afternoon at Camp Koundara provoked by Lieutenant Aboubacar Sidiki Diakite, alias Toumba, during which Captain Moussa Dadis Camara was lightly injured," he said.
Military sources had also confirmed the shooting, and Secretary of State Moussa Tiegboro Camara announced the aide's arrest on state radio.
Soldiers had been deployed into the streets of Guinea's capital and helicopters patrolled overhead after gunshots were heard in the city, witnesses said.
"The town is plunged in darkness, filled with soldiers. Everything is closed, the service stations, the shops, everything," one resident told AFP.
Guinea's junta seized power under Camara a year ago following the death of longtime president Lansana Conte. Junta troops killed scores of people when they opened fire at an opposition rally in September.
The military junta said 56 people were killed and 934 were injured in the September massacre.
Human Rights Watch put the death toll at 157. The United Nations believes 150 were killed.
A UN panel arrived in Guinea at the end of November to investigate what happened at the Conakry stadium where the army opened fire on the rally, which was called to urge Camara not to stand in a presidential election in January.
One soldier who is a member of a guard close to the aide said the shooting occurred after Camara told him he wanted to denounce him as the ringleader of the stadium massacre.
But a high-ranking police official, speaking on condition of anonymity, provided a different explanation, saying the government had recently moved to arrest suspects close to the aide as part of anti-drug operations.