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Guinea aide admits shooting junta leader Camara

By on December 17, 2009

A renegade soldier hunted by Guinea’s authorities for trying to kill junta leader Capt Moussa Dadis Camara has admitted that he shot his boss.

Lt Toumba Diakite told French RFI radio that the army tried to blame him for a massacre of protesters in September.

He said he shot Capt Camara in the neck to avoid being arrested and because he felt “betrayed”.

Capt Camara was flown to Morocco for treatment after the shooting on 3 December and has not been seen since.

Junta officials have given mixed messages about the seriousness of his condition – with some suggesting he could return to the country within weeks and others saying it could be a much longer period of time.

First interview

Lt Diakite, on the run since the shooting, said he had shot Capt Camara twice in the neck after being threatened with arrest. “I categorically state that a bullet, around one or two bullets, hit the right-hand side of the back of his neck,” he said in the Radio France Internationale interview – his first since the shooting.

“I shot him because at some point there was utter betrayal towards me, a complete betrayal of democracy, he tried to lay all responsibility for the events of 28 September on me.”

The interview with Lt Diakite was recorded three days ago, and it was unclear whether he was still in Guinea or had fled the country.

Previous reports said he was on the run inside Guinea.

The military drew international criticism by opening fire on crowds in a Conakry sports stadium on 28 September – with rights groups claiming more than 150 people were killed.

The BBC’s Mark Doyle, who recently visited Guinea, says Lt Diakite is known to have been commanding some of the troops who opened fire at the stadium.

Our correspondent says there were also other military units present, commanded by other officers.

‘Massacre order’

Activists have blamed both Capt Camara and Lt Diakite for the massacre.

Capt Camara previously tried to distance himself from the incident by saying he was not in full control of the officers at the rally.

But in his interview, Lt Diakite blamed the whole incident on Capt Camara and said he “knew the reality on the ground very well”.

“He also brought in 250 new recruits from the training school for the navy who were ordered to dress in civilian clothes and armed with knives and carried out large massacres,” he said.

The military took over in Guinea after the death of long-time leader Lansana Conte last December, but their rule has been characterised by instability and violent crackdowns on dissent.

Since the shooting, soldiers have rounded dozens of people it suspects of being linked to Lt Diakite.


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