News / Africa

Guinean Panel Absolves Camara of Massacre

Finding contradicts a U.N. investigation that says Captain Camara bears 'individual criminal responsibility' for the massacre

A panel of inquiry in Guinea says exiled military leader Moussa Dadis Camara was not responsible for the killing of protesters at a September opposition rally.

The finding, released Tuesday, contradicts a United Nations investigation that said Captain Camara bore "individual criminal responsibility" for the massacre, in which more than 150 people were killed.

The Guinean panel blamed the killings on Lieutenant "Toumba" Diakite and members of the country's presidential guard.

Witnesses have placed Diakite at the Conakry soccer stadium where soldiers opened fire on pro-democracy demonstrators September 28.  The soldiers also allegedly raped more than 100 women that day.

Diakite has been in hiding since he shot Captain Camara December 3.  He told French radio that he attacked Camara because the military leader wanted to assign him full blame for the massacre.

Before he was shot, Camara denied responsibility for the incident, putting the blame on rogue soldiers in Guinea's army.

Camara is now in Burkina Faso, recovering from his gunshot wounds.  Last month, the captain agreed not to return home as part of a deal to establish a transitional government in Guinea.

The country has been under military rule since December 2008, when Camara and a group of officers seized power after the death of President Lansana Conte.

The political deal calls for the new government to hold elections in June.  Guinea's acting military leader, General Sekouba Kontate, has called on troops to support the new administration.

Some information for this report was provided by AP, AFP.

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