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Soldiers in Guinea Searching for Shooter of Military Leader

Authorities say Toumba's men opened fire on military ruler Captain Moussa Dadis Camara late Thursday at an army camp in downtown Conakry

Guinea's military ruler Captain Moussa Dadis Camara (Oct 2009 file photo)
Guinea's military ruler Captain Moussa Dadis Camara (Oct 2009 file photo)

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Soldiers in Guinea are searching for the former head of the presidential guard whose men are accused of shooting and wounding the country's military leader. VOA West Africa Correspondent Scott Stearns reports, Guinea's defense minister has returned from a trip abroad while the country's military leader is being treated at a hospital in Morocco.

Security forces in Guinea continue their search for former aide-de-camp Lieutenant Aboubacar Sidiki Diakite, who is known as Toumba.  Authorities say Toumba's men opened fire on military ruler Captain Moussa Dadis Camara late Thursday at an army camp in downtown Conakry.

The former aide escaped the attack and is still at large with a small group of soldiers from the presidential guard.

In a statement read on national television, Guinea's counsel of minister says it has reinforced security at all level and is calling on all members of the government to stay united in the mission of reconciliation. The counsel of ministers called on all Guineans to remain calm.

Several witnesses have identified former aide-de-camp Toumba as the man who 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 in that protest against Captain Camara's expected presidential candidacy. The military says 57 people died, most in the crush of people fleeing Conakry's main sports stadium.

Captain Camara is now at a military hospital in Morocco for surgery for gunshot wounds sustained in Thursday's attack. It his first trip outside the country since taking power in a coup last December.

Key Camara ally Defense Minister Sekouba Konate has returned to Conakry from a trip to Lebanon and was received at the airport by a large group of soldiers who swore an oath of loyalty to both him and Captain Camara shortly after the coup. Konate now appears to be running the military council in Captain Camara's absence.

September's killing and Thursday's shooting cast doubt on whether presidential elections rescheduled for next month will be held.

The Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) says it is following the situation in Guinea "with grave concern." An ECOWAS statement says the military is responsible for a "worsening security situation" where "indiscipline and infighting within the fractured army" is holding back efforts to "establish the rule of law."

Burkinabe President Blaise Compaore is the regional mediator for Guinea's political crisis. But his proposed interim government has been rejected by the leading opposition 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 the military.

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