Guinea leader slams France over savagery charge

6th October 2009, Comments 0 comments

Guinea leader Moussa Dadis Camara reacted angrily on Monday to France's condemnation of a deadly crackdown on an opposition rally in Conakry, saying his country did not take orders from its former colonial power.

"Guinea is not a sub-prefecture of France," he told the France 24 news channel, responding to remarks a day earlier by French Foreign Minister Bernard Kouchner.

Kouchner said: "It seems to me that we can no longer work with Dadis Camara and that there has to be an international intervention." He condemned last week's crackdown as "something terrible and savage."

Guinean security forces opened fire on demonstrators in the capital's main stadium last Monday during a protest against the prospect of Camara becoming a candidate in presidential elections set for 31 January.

Camara told France 24 that he would not enter into dialogue with Kouchner as he was merely a foreign minister.

"I am willing to have talks with my brother, the respected President Sarkozy. When President Sarkozy takes a position, that may lead me to reflect. But I don't need to respond to a foreign minister," he said.

Camara said on Sunday that he bears "no responsibility" for the 28 September massacre in which the United Nations said more than 150 people were killed. The junta maintains that 56 civilians were killed in the violence.

Burkina Faso President Blaise Compaore, tasked by the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) to act as a "facilitator" to ease tensions in Guinea, arrived on Monday in Conakry.

Camara's arrival in power on 23 December last year in a bloodless coup after the death of longtime ruler Lansana Conte was initially welcomed by Guineans.

Many believed his vows to fight poverty, corruption and drug trafficking, along with his pledge to hand over power to a civilian president.


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