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Africa

Junta accuses France of 'preparing a coup' in wake of Camara shooting

Text by News Wires

Latest update : 2009-12-08

Idrissa Cherif (pictured), a spokesman for Guinea's ruling junta, on Tuesday accused former colonial ruler France of "preparing a coup". The accusation comes in the wake of a Dec. 3 attempt on junta leader Moussa Dadis Camara's life.

AFP - Guinea junta leader Moussa Dadis Camara's condition has improved and he will return soon after being shot by an aide and operated on in Morocco for a head wound, his spokesman said Tuesday.  
   
"The president is speaking, he can sit up... he was walking in the hospital," spokesman Idrissa Cherif told AFP in Conakry.
   
"He received his family and his friends," the spokesman added.
   
"The president will return soon, he will come to see his people and his army," said Cherif.
   

It was possible that on Wednesday or Thursday, "the president will make a declaration, in person, to say that he is doing well, that his health is improving," said the spokesman.
   
He added that Camara also planned to announce he would return to the west African country soon to take up his responsibilities as head of state again.
   
Camara was wounded Thursday when his aide de camp, Aboubacar Sidiki Diakite, allegedly shot him in what a junta spokesman said was a bid to seize power.
   
Opposition leader and former prime minister Cellou Dadis Diallo has denied there had been a coup attempt and called the shooting "a settling of scores between two people who were accomplices but who have since fallen out."
   
A manhunt is under way for the aide, who has gone into hiding with a group of his men.
   
Cherif said people were being detained on a daily basis over the assassination bid, but did not say how many had so far been taken in.
   
"A plot took place, we are arresting suspects every day," he said.
   
"We are searching for people who shot at the president, it is our right -- there has been an attempt on the life of the head of state."
   
Camara seized power in a coup a year ago following the death of longtime leader Lansana Conte.
   
Tensions have been running high since junta soldiers massacred scores of opposition supporters at a Conakry stadium rally on September 28.
   
The attempt on Camara's life came as the UN carried out investigations into the massacre.
   
According to some witnesses, Diakite shot Camara during an argument because the junta leader planned to denounce him as a key figure in the stadium killings.
   
Cherif further on Tuesday accused France, the country's former colonial ruler, of laying the ground for a coup in Guinea.
   
French Foreign Minister Bernard Kouchner had been in touch with Guinean opposition politician Alpha Conde, the spokesman told AFP.
   
"Together, they called (president of regional bloc Economic Community of West African States, Mohamed Ibn) Chambas, to ask him to make statements and make contact" with people in Guinea, Cherif said.
   
This was aimed at "preparing a coup to overthrow the regime, in the absence of the head of state," said the spokesman.
   
Guinean human rights bodies and the United Nations say that at least 150 people died and more than 1,200 were wounded when troops opened fire on the crowd in the stadium. The junta says 56 people were killed.
   
That rally was called to protest at the prospect of Camara standing for the presidency in elections the junta had planned to hold next January. Both the UN and the junta are investigating the massacre.

Date created : 2009-12-09

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