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January 03, 2010

Guinea Union Leaders Say They Will Strike if Demands Not Met

by Ricci Shryock

Guinea labor union leaders said they will respond with unspecified action if the full story on the health of ruling military leader Captain Moussa Dadis Camara is not disclosed. 

Women and young people demonstrated at labor-union headquarters in Conakry, asking leaders not call a strike Tuesday.  The group, mainly made up of military wives, said the country is tired of protests and strikes.

The labor unions have threatened to take unspecified action if the military junta does not disclose the health status of the country's ruling leader, Captain Moussa Dadis Camara.

Guinea Minister of Presidential Security Claude Pivi also addressed the union leaders.

Pivi said the military is trying to secure the population, and he asked that Guineans not move around without their ID cards.

But National Confederation of Guinean Workers President Hadja Rabiatou Diallo lamented the demonstration.

Diallo said she felt pity for the youth and women demonstrating, because they were being manipulated by the security forces. 

Captain Camara was shot by the former head of the presidential guard, Abubakar "Toumba" Diakite, on December 3rd.  He has not been seen since being evacuated to Morocco for emergency treatment.

Defense Minister Sekouba Konate has taken charge of Guinea's military government, calling for discipline.  Konate went to Morocco to visit Captain Camara in the hospital, but made no official statement about his health.

The military took control of the West African country in a bloodless coup in December 2008.

After a ruling-council decision declaring soldiers eligible to stand for election, opposition against Captain Camara began to grow.  The labor unions have been an essential part of the opposition coalition that includes civil society groups and political parties

At least 157 people were killed September 28 when soldiers opened fire on thousands of protesters demonstrating against a potential Camara presidential candidacy. 

A U.N. inquiry says the violence amounts to a crime against humanity that is directly attributable to the military government, including Captain Camara, who blamed political opponents and "uncontrollable elements" of the military.

Diakite says Captain Camara tried to blame him for the violence, so he shot him in the head and escaped with a small group of soldiers.