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Page last updated at 18:04 GMT, Wednesday, 14 October 2009 19:04 UK

Guinea ruler 'must face charges'

Captain Moussa Dadis Camara (Archive)
Capt Camara denies responsibility for the deaths at the opposition rally

The leader of Guinea's new military government should be put on trial for crimes against humanity, the EU's development chief has told reporters.

Karel de Gucht says the suppression of a opposition rally in the capital Conakry last month was "an act of brutality never seen before".

He said that sooner or later leader Capt Moussa Dadis Camara would have to stand in court.

More than 150 people were killed when troops opened fire on demonstrators.

"This is a crime against humanity. It is a crime against the citizens of Guinea," Mr de Gucht told reporters in Ethiopia.

"The international community has agreed that, if such things happen, those individuals have to be brought to justice.

But Guinean Prime Minister Kabine Komara told the BBC it was premature to talk of criminal acts and that a full inquiry was needed first to establish the facts.

Bloodless coup

Capt Camara was internationally criticised after gunmen opened fire on protesters in Conakry on 28 September, killing more than 150 people and wounding around 1,000 more.

He has denied any responsibility for the incident, saying it was the fault of foreign mercenaries, unruly army elements and a crowd stampede, reports say.

Guinea soldiers arresting protesters (28 Sept 2009)
An opposition rally in Conakry ended in the deaths of more than 50 people

Guinea's government was overthrown in a bloodless coup last December, after the death of former head of state Lansana Conte, who had ruled the country since 1984.

On coming to power, Capt Camara said he would curb corruption and drug trafficking, improve army discipline and set up elections for early next year, in a bid to transfer power.

The Conakry protests were sparked by persistent rumours that Capt Camara intends to stand as a presidential candidate in elections scheduled for next January - something he had previously ruled out.

Ministers of the West African economic group, Ecowas, have also been meeting in Nigeria this week to try to resolve the crisis. The bloc suspended Guinea after last December's coup.

On Tuesday, the International Contact Group on Guinea said the country's military leadership should stand down and make way for a transitional authority.



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