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Guinea's military ruler is trying to distance himself from the violence
that killed at least 58 people in the capital on Monday who were
protesting his possible candidacy in next year's presidential election.
Military ruler Captain Moussa Dadis Camara told Senegal's RFM
radio that he was disgusted when he was told about the violence at
Conakry's September 28 Stadium, where witnesses say security services
opened fire on opposition protesters.
Captain Camara said he wanted to see for himself what was happening at the stadium because he was unaware of the events.
told the Senegalese radio station that he would rather die than see
people killed because, he said, he did not take power in a military
coup last December to have a confrontation with the Guinean people.
military government on Sunday banned all public demonstrations ahead of
Friday's national independence celebrations. But opposition parties,
civil society groups and trade unions went ahead with Monday's protest.
Several opposition leaders were arrested and taken to Guinea's main military barracks.
Captain Camara said he has asked about the condition of detained opposition leaders and was told that they are in good health.
demonstration against Captain Camara's anticipated run for the
presidency was the largest public opposition he has faced since the
coup. It was also the most violent incident of his nine months in
The scale of the killing will be difficult to determine
because the military reportedly is collecting bodies themselves rather
than allowing them to be counted at public morgues.
colonial power France is condemning "the violent repression exercised
by the army" during a peaceful demonstration. A statement by the
French Foreign Ministry says the ruling military council should "show
responsibility" and "listen to the Guinean people's legitimate
aspiration to democratically choose their leaders." It says Captain
Camara not standing for election "would allow for calm to return."
Camara initially said none of the coup leaders would run for office.
But the ruling military council now says all Guineans are entitled to
run. While he has not formally announced his candidacy, Captain Camara
has told supporters that he will not insult them by ignoring their
demands to stand as a candidate in presidential elections scheduled for
Guinea is suspended from the Economic Community of West
African States and the African Union because of the coup. The African
Union says it is concerned about the "deteriorating situation" in
Guinea and that it will impose unspecified sanctions on Captain Camara
next month, unless he makes clear that he will not run for president.
Guinean ruler so far has enjoyed the public support of a handful of
African heads of state, most notably Senegalese President Abdoulaye