'Our army has never been disciplined,' warns Camara
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Captain Dadis Moussa Camara, head of the ruling military junta in Guinea, gave an interview to FRANCE 24 in which he revisits Monday’s bloody event in Conakry and addresses the issue of the upcoming presidential election.
A few days after the military’s deadly response to protests in the Guinean capital of Conakry, the leader of the ruling junta, Dadis Moussa Camara, explains the incident. As many as 150 may have been gunned down in a stadium where a reportedly peaceful demonstration had gathered to contest the coup leader’s possible candidature in the upcoming presidential elections.
"According to information provided to me by the minister of health, 53 people died of asphyxia during the commotion, and four others from stray bullets," said Camara.
The Guinean Organization for the Defence of Human Rights claims that more than 150 people were killed and more than 1,200 were injured in the event. The nongovernmental organization also reported incidents of rape and torture.
"The events of 28 September will be the subject of a national and international investigation,” Camara said.
Asked about his responsibility in the incident, the junta leader regretted the lack of discipline of the Guinean army.
"Our army has never been disciplined; it is the only army in the world where a corporal or a sergeant can curse at a general," Camara said.
The junta leader also said that the opposition protesters had "trashed" police stations where they seized "weapons of war", before they arrived at the Conakry stadium. These events spurred some members of the military to mobilize to the venue ahead of their commanding officers and to engage in the deadly crackdown, which the captain says he "regrets".
Nobody can control this army
Asked about the presidential election scheduled for January 2010, the military leader said he believes that the poll is threatened by opposition "extremists".
"Organizing free and transparent elections in this country is all for nought if this clan favouring extremism exists," said Camara. According to Camara, it was these "fanatics" who incited the crowd toward the stadium with the aim of provoking a clash with the army and the ensuing outcry of the international community.
Finally, Camara did not hesitate to send a message to the opposition, suggesting he is the only person capable of controlling the military.
"Nobody can control this army. Civilians can not control this army,” he warned.
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