Guinea: Calls for democracy heighten ahead of Junta leader’s return from Morocco

Reading time 3 min.

West African regional group has called for an immediate return to civilian rule in Guinea as the attacked military leader Capt. Moussa Dadis Camara prepares to return home, from Morocco after a head surgery, on Wednesday.

The call by the Economic Community of West African States (Ecowas) confirms the position taken by many Guineans soon after Capt Camara’s soldiers opened fire on an opposition demonstration on 28 September, killing 150 people.

Capt. Camara was shot by an aide in a firefight between rival factions of Guinea’s army, but the military leader was flown to morocco in critical conditions. Vice-President Sekouba Konate the vice president of the military junta, rushed back to Guinea’s capital from overseas in order to take charge following Thursday assassination attempt on the junta’s president.

According to analysts, the absence of Capt. Camara might create some movement in Guinea’s political log-jam, especially if he is facing a lengthy recuperation in Morocco.

Although the extent of the Capt. Camara’s injuries has not been officially disclosed, some reports have claimed that doctors are no longer concerned about his condition.

VOA news, Monday, quoted his spokesman, Harouna Kone as saying: “The president is doing very well and we expecting that he will come back maybe on Wednesday… he is in the Royal Hospital of Rabat and I think that everything is well there. He called last night and (spoke) with his minister of communication and they discussed about something”.

Despite the call by Ecowas, the African union and the International community for the country to return to democracy, mediation between the military government and the civilian opposition has so far stalled due to the adamance on both sides.

Presidential election was scheduled for January 2010. The opposition wants a civilian-run transitional government until then, but the military won’t budge.

Coup d’état

Reports claim that the aide, Lt Abubakar Diakite who allegedly shot Capt Camara, remains on the run. Lt Diakite, commonly known as Toumba, is not only suspected of trying to kill Capt Dadis Camara but attempting a coup d’état.

Capt Camara has always been skeptical about his military. He imported millions of dollars worth of weapons in November, despite international sanctions imposed on the country. According to the, sources in the military say their leader grew fearful of a counter-coup from within his own military.

To shore up support, Capt Camara has been allegedly recruiting militia units from among his own Forestier ethnic group in the east of the country, and has promoted fellow Forestiers to senior positions in the army in preference to those from other tribes. The situation highlights the vicious circle of harsh martial leadership and violent coups in the country that has tormented its citizens for decades.

More insecurity

Some analysts fear that the failed coup attempt of Dec. 3 could create more insecurity and uncertainty in the troubled West African country. Tara O’Connor at Africa Risk Consulting said: “We only hope they will be more malleable to affecting a transition to civilian rule than the military leaders of the past.”

Despite the clear division in the country’s military as evident in the shoot out on Thursday that left two officers killed and the junta leader wounded, officers loyal to Capt. Camara appear to be holding firm.

According to commentary from Eurasia Group, throughout the fractured history of Guinea, a theme of military indiscipline and rule by the gun has held. “Camara’s attempt to bring those errant soldiers to book triggered the assassination attempt by a leader within the renegade army group, Lieutenant Aboubacar Toumba Diakite,” Sebastian Spio-Garbrah the West Africa/Gulf of Guinea analyst in Eurasia Group’s Middle East & Africa practice is quoted as saying.

Guinea, whose soil is rich in gold, diamonds and half the world’s reserves of the raw material used to make aluminum, has been under military rule for the past 25 years. Rising instability in Guinea, which has attracted billions of dollars in investments from major mining companies, is seen as a threat to neighbors Sierra Leone, Ivory Coast and Liberia, all recovering from civil wars that ended earlier this decade.

Guinea  Read latest news and features from Guinea : business, politics, culture, life & style, entertainment and sports
Support Follow Afrik-News on Google News