Burkino Faso's president heads to Conakry ‘to ease tensions’

A week after the bloody repression of an opposition rally in Guinea, Burkina Faso's President Blaise Compaore is expected in Conakry to broker peace. Meanwhile, France has officially stated that it no longer supports Guinea's leader.


AFP - France served notice Sunday that it no longer supported Guinea leader Moussa Dadis Camara after scores of people were killed in an opposition rally in the capital Conakry last week.

"Something terrible and savage happened. We cannot accept it," Foreign Minister Bernard Kouchner said in an interview to RTL radio.

"It seems to me that we can no longer work with Dadis Camara and that there has to be an international intervention," he said, adding that France was pressing West African leaders from regional bloc ECOWAS to engage.

Dadis Camara said Sunday he bears "no responsibility" for the September 28 massacre in which the United Nations said more than 150 people were killed.

The violence erupted after thousands of people had gathered at Conakry's main stadium to protest against the prospect of Camara becoming a candidate in presidential elections set for January 31.

The junta says 56 civilians were killed, but the Guinean Human Rights Organisation has claimed that at least 157 people were killed and 1,253 wounded in the crackdown. The United Nations has put the toll at more than 150.

Burkina Faso President Blaise Compaore, tasked by the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) to act as a "facilitator" to ease tensions in Guinea, is to arrive in Conakry on Monday, his foreign minister Alain Bedouma Yoda told AFP.

Kouchner said France was pressing for a role in Guinea for ECOWAS, whose current chairman is Nigerian President Umaru Yar'Adua. "Nigeria has to agree and we are working on that," Kouchner said.

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