Thursday, December 10, 2009

Bernard Kouchner accused over Guinea Camara shooting

France's Foreign Minister Bernard Kouchner was involved in a plot to kill the leader of Guinea's ruling junta, the country's military rulers say.

Junta spokesman Idrissa Cherif told the BBC that Mr Kouchner had "activated some networks" in order to "change the situation" in the West African country. France's government said the claims were "completely groundless". Junta leader Capt Moussa Dadis Camara is said to be recovering after being shot in the head last week. He was flown out to Morocco for treatment and the soldier suspected of the shooting, Lt Toumba Diakite, is still on the run in Guinea.

'No polemics'

Mr Cherif told the BBC's World Today programme he did not believe the shooting was official French government policy. "I wouldn't say that I am accusing France entirely. I said that certain services were used to make this attempt on Mr Camara's life, and the regime ruling the country," he said. "In the event, it's Mr Bernard Kouchner. Mr Kouchner activated some networks in order to change the situation here." French Foreign Ministry spokeswoman Christine Farges rejected the allegations. "We don't want to enter into any polemics with anyone in Guinea," she said.

"The international community... [is] waiting for Guinea to enter into a transition that is democratic and peaceful, and that will lead to free and fair elections as quickly as possible." Tensions between France, the former colonial power, and Guinea have been rising in recent days, culminating on Wednesday with France making an official complaint to the junta. Security staff stopped the French ambassador near Conakry airport and demanded to search his car - which the French said was a deliberate attempt to violate the Vienna Convention on diplomatic relations.

City crackdown

Meanwhile in Guinea, Capt Camara's deputies have moved to squash rumours of a power vacuum and confusion over who is in charge. Interim leader Gen Sekouba Konate appeared on television for the first time since last Thursday's shooting to urge unity. BBC West Africa correspondent Caspar Leighton says there are increasing signs that Capt Camara will not be returning to head the government in the near future. He says one of the junta's leaders, while vouching for the loyalty of Gen Konate, suggested the general would lead this interim period - even if it were to last some years.

Elections had been due in January 2010.

Earlier this week the military launched a crackdown on anyone they believed could be linked with Lt Diakite or the plot to kill Capt Camara. The authorities say more than 100 soldiers have been arrested since the shooting. Reports from the capital, Conakry, say soldiers have also been sweeping through the city rounding up civilians. Eyewitnesses have told journalists of people being shot in the streets as they fled from patrols. Guinea has been in turmoil since the military took over last December just hours after the death of long-time ruler Lansana Conte.

Capt Camara initially promised to guide the country back to civilian rule, but soon dropped hints that he would stand for president himself. That led to a large protest in a Conakry sports stadium - which was brutally suppressed by the military with widespread reports of mass killings and rapes carried out by soldiers. The crackdown has been condemned by France, as well as the EU, US and the African Union.

1 comment:

  1. Isn't this just an easy way of pointing fingers? Certainly foreign countries have significant economic interests and instability in African countries often works to benefit their interests. But if people like Camara and Diakite did not allow themselves to be pawns, to harm their people and do stupid, greedy, power-hungry things that benefit foreign countries, we wouldn't be in this mess. So in the end whose fault is this? It's the fault of the person who pulled the trigger, end of story!