Troops seen as 'act of war'

2009-12-15 08:58

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Ouagadougou - Guinea's military leadership on Monday rejected a proposal from a regional group to bring in foreign troops to prevent further violence, saying it would consider such a move an act of war.

Meanwhile, a diplomat and a bodyguard close to the junta's No. 2 said he would visit Morocco to assess the health of the wounded coup leader following an assassination attempt.

Colonel Moussa Keita spoke after a meeting on Sunday of African, American and European diplomats to discuss a plan to return Guinea to civilian rule.

"Any country that plans to send troops should desist because if they send troops we will consider their actions a declaration of war and consequently we will take measures," Keita said.

The West African economic bloc on Sunday called for troops to be sent to Guinea to prevent further violence following a military-led massacre at a stadium in September that human rights groups said killed at least 157 people.

Also on Monday, a bodyguard and a retired diplomat said General Sekouba Konate will travel on Tuesday to determine for himself if Moussa "Dadis" Camara will be able to return to Guinea after being shot earlier this month. They spoke on condition of anonymity because of concern for their security.

Konate was filmed over the weekend by state TV paying an official visit to Camara's mother in a suburb outside of Guinea's capital, Conakry.

Coma speculation

The state of Camara's health has been a mystery ever since he was airlifted to a Moroccan military hospital on December 4.

Junta officials say Camara's top aide, Abubakar "Toumba" Diakite, shot him in the head on December 3. The 45-year-old president has not spoken publicly since the shooting, leading many to speculate he is in a coma.

Konate told reporters last week that he had spoken by telephone to Camara. But several diplomats based in Conakry said they doubted he had spoken to Camara who was said to be isolated inside his hospital room with access to no one but his doctors.

Camara's departure from Guinea casts further doubt on whether the junta is able and willing to move on without clear direction from their wounded leader.

Several experts and diplomats have speculated that Camara must be in a coma or he would have himself addressed the nation by TV or radio since undergoing surgery for a bullet wound to the head.

World Bank officials say Guinea already has defaulted on a major loan and stands to incur further penalties now that Camara appears to be incapacitated because he is the only one authorised to sign loan documents.

Camara seized power in a coup nearly one year ago and promised to quickly hand over power to civilians in elections in which he would not run. But he began dropping hints that he planned to run after all, prompting a massive pro-democracy protest in the capital on September 28.

Members of the presidential guard shot at the demonstrators, killing at least 157 people, according to human rights groups. Women were raped in the streets by soldiers shouting slogans in support of Camara, the groups said.

- SAPA

Read more on:    world bank  |  moussa dadis camara  |  morocco  |  guinea  |  west africa
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