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Guinea Accuses ECOWAS Leader of Undermining Military

Guinea says the leader of West Africa's political alliance is trying to destabilize the country's military government  by suggesting that soldiers not run in elections. Guinea's military leader is recovering in a Moroccan hospital after being shot last week by members of the presidential guard.

Communications Minister Idrissa Cherif says the chairman of the Economic Community of West African States is trying to destabilize Guinea's military government.

In an interview with Guinea's state-run television, Cherif says ECOWAS Chairman Mohammed Ibn Chambas wants to sabotage the work of ECOWAS mediator, Burkinabe President Blaise Compaore.

Cherif says Chambas is supported by some colonial countries to destabilize the military government that took power in a coup last December. But Cherif says the people of Guinea are more united than ever following last week's attempt to assassinate military ruler Captain Moussa Dadis Camara.

Following that attack, ECOWAS called on Guinea's military government to immediately put in place a new transitional authority leading to credible elections in early 2010 that do not include any members of the ruling military council or its prime minister.

ECOWAS says Guinea's military is responsible for the country's worsening security situation where indiscipline and infighting within the fractured army are holding back efforts to establish the rule of law.

That infighting came to a head Thursday when soldiers loyal to Lieutenant Aboubacar Sidiki Diakite opened fire on Captain Camara. Diakite escaped the attack and is still at large with an unknown number of soldiers from the presidential guard.

Witnesses say he gave the order to open fire on opposition demonstrators two months ago. Local human rights groups say dozens of women were raped and at least 157 people were killed. The military says 57 people died.

Captain Camara is recovering from gunshot wounds at a military hospital in Morocco.

Cherif told state television that Captain Camara is out of danger and is doing well. Before he left, Cherif says Captain Camara instructed the ruling military council to secure the capital and the nation's borders, continue to work with President Compaore's ECOWAS mediation, and cooperate with the work of a UN inquiry into the September violence.

President Compaore's plan for an interim government has been rejected by a coalition of political parties, trade unions, and civil society groups. That coalition says it will not take part in any transitional authority that includes members of Guinea's military.
 

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