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Junta leader Camara to continue his convalescence in Burkina Faso

Video by Fiona CAMERON


Latest update : 2010-01-13

Guinea's junta chief Moussa Dadis Camara will continue his convalescence in Burkina Faso. The injured leader arrived in Ouagadougou on January 12th after spending a month in a Moroccan hospital following an assassination attempt.

AFP - Guinea's junta chief Moussa Dadis Camara, who barely survived an assassination attempt in December, has been flown from Morocco to Burkina Faso to "continue his convalescence," the Burkinabe foreign ministry said Wednesday.

"After a month of treatment in Morocco, and considering the evolving state of his health, Moussa Dadis Camara arrived in Ouagadougou where he will continue his convalescence," said a foreign ministry statement.

However, his surprise arrival in Ouagadougou raised new questions about the future of negotiations between the military leadership and the opposition in Guinea.

President Blaise Compaore, who met Camara shortly after his arrival here late Tuesday, has been mediating between stand-in junta leader General Sekouba Konate and the opposition in Guinea.

Konate, who is defence minister, recently asked Guinea's Forces Vives coalition of opposition parties, trade unions and civil society to share power in a transition government and has called for democracy in the country.

Konate was due to fly to Ouagadougou on Wednesday to meet the junta chief.

Camara walked "with difficulty" from the plane, supported by two aides, a local reporter said.

"He is lucid, he is speaking," a source in Compaore's office told AFP.

The junta leader had not appeared in public since being evacuated to Rabat for medical treatment after being shot in the head by his aide de camp on December 3 during a dispute, allegedly over a bloody crackdown on an opposition rally.

It was not immediately clear if Camara intended to stay in Burkina Faso, return to Guinea or travel to another country.

"I don't know yet because we haven't spoken since his arrival in Ouagadougou but President Dadis will go back when it is decided," a top junta official Moussa Keita told AFP by phone.

"Nothing is preventing him from going home," Keita said.

But his unannounced departure from Morocco left a host of unanswered questions Wednesday.

Did the junta chief leave volunarily or was he expelled by Rabat? Did he choose to go to Burkina Faso rather than directly to Guinea? Is he in a fit state to return to power, given his apparently serious wounds?

The United States expressed concern about the possible return of Camara.

"Any effort by Dadis to return to Guinea would concern us," said a US State Department official who requested anonymity.

French Foreign Minister Bernard Kouchner said in an address to parliament in December that it would be better for Camara to stay in bed in Morocco "because his return alone is capable of setting off a civil war that we don't need". 

The bauxite-rich west African country has been under military rule since a December 2008 military coup launched by Camara following the death of longtime leader Lansana Conte. Tensions peaked last September 28 when troops massacred at least 156 people at an opposition rally.

A recent UN report on the stadium massacre in Guinea's capital Conakry named Camara as a suspect as it accused the army of "crimes against humanity" during the crackdown on the rally.


Date created : 2010-01-13


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