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Diakite admits shooting Guinean junta leader

By Guardian Nigeria
19 December 2009   |   4:10 am
 THE soldier accused over the assassination attempt on Captain Moussa Dadis Camara has admitted shooting the Guinean junta leader, telling French media he felt "betrayed" by his former boss. The British Broadcasting Corporation (BBC) and Associated Press (AP) quoted Lt Toumba Diakite as telling Radio France Internationale (RFI) radio that the military rulers intended to blame him for a massacre of opposition protesters on September28, adding that he shot Capt. Camara in the neck to avoid being arrested.

The Guinean junta leader was flown to Morocco for treatment after the shooting on December 3 and has not been seen since.

Junta officials have given mixed messages about the seriousness of his condition, with some suggesting he could return to the country within weeks and others saying it could be a much longer period of time.

Lt Diakite, on the run since the shooting, said he had shot Capt Camara twice in the neck after being threatened with arrest.

“(Capt Camara) came looking for me at Koundara (military base) with his entire convoy with intent to arrest me,” he said in the interview.

He added that one of Capt. Camara’s guards tried to approach him “and that is when I opened fire on him”.

“I categorically state that a bullet, around one or two bullets, hit the right-hand side of the back of his neck,” he said.

“I shot him because at some point, there was utter betrayal towards me, a complete betrayal of democracy – he tried to lay all responsibility for the events of September 28 on me.”

The interview with Lt Diakite was recorded three days ago, and it was unclear whether he was still in Guinea or had fled the country. Previous reports said he was on the run inside Guinea.

The military drew international criticism by opening fire on crowds in a Conakry sports stadium on September 28.

The BBC during a recent visited to Guinea, said Lt Diakite was known to have commanded the troops who opened fire at the stadium.

Rights groups claimed more than 150 people were killed and women were raped by soldiers. Activists have blamed both Capt Camara and Lt Diakite for the massacre.

Capt Camara previously tried to distance himself from the incident by saying he was not in full control of the army officers at the rally.

The military took over in Guinea after the death of long-time leader, Lansana Conte, last December, but their rule has been characterised by instability and violent crackdowns on dissent.

Since the shooting, soldiers have rounded dozens of people it suspects of being linked to Lt Diakite.