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Guinea Military Threatens Problems if Current Leader is Forced Out

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At mediation talks in neighboring Burkina Faso, Guinea's ruling military says there is no way their current leader, Captain Moussa Dadis Camara, will relinquish his role in a transitional government.  But opposition leaders are saying that is the only way they will discuss the country's political future.

Though representatives from Guinea's ruling military are in Ouagadougou to discuss the prospect of a transitional government, they say there is one concession they will absolutely not give to the opposition forces.  Guinea Minister of Foreign Affairs Alexandre Cece Loua says the National Council for Democracy and Development leader Captain Moussa Dadis Camara, must be part of the transitional government.

"He wants to rule the country, we are in power," Loua said.  "So you can imagine how far we are, so I think that for the benefit of our country, we need to be very realistic.  I do not know if in Guinea, in the situation we are, if you say that the current president can step down, you can imagine what would be the consequences."

Captain Camara's special advisor, Idrissa Cherif, is participating in the talks with mediator Blaise Compaore, Burkina Faso's president.  Cherif said this week's meeting was to discuss future policy and not the status of Captain Camara.

Cherif says exclusion is what leads to war, and he insisted the 26-member National Council for Democracy and Development delegation is in Burkina Faso to find an exit strategy from the crisis Guinea now faces.

Guineans first reacted positively when the military took power in a bloodless coup last December, just hours after the death of longtime President Lansana Conte.  But the opposition says government security forces killed more than 150 anti-military government protesters September 28th at a stadium in Conakry, and those forces are also accused of brutally raping women in the streets of the capital.  The government insists fewer than 60 people were killed in the September 28th incident.

Opposition leaders have continued to call for a transitional government without Captain Camara or members of the military to lead the country to free elections.

The national secretary for the Party of Hope and Development, Zalikatou Diallo, said the resolution of the opposition remains strong.

President Compaore met last week in Burkina Faso with Guinean opposition and civil society members, who at the time repeated their insistence that they will not work with Captain Camara, nor any soldiers within the government

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