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Page last updated at 09:43 GMT, Friday, 24 July 2009 10:43 UK

Troops crawl after Guinea attack

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Presidential troops prostrate themselves before Gen Toto

Troops from Guinea's elite presidential guard have been shown on national TV begging on their knees for forgiveness after roughing up a general.

Gen Mamadou Bah Toto Camara was assaulted in a row over a donation of equipment for the police, which the presidential guards wanted to seize.

He is Guinea's most senior army officer but number two in the military junta which seized power last year.

Coup leader Captain Moussa Dadis Camara also apologised for the incident.

Eyewitnesses say the buttons showing Gen Toto's rank were removed, his mobile phones taken and his money stolen by members of the presidential guard, as he went to see Capt Camara at the Alpha Yaya Diallo military camp earlier this week.

He was reportedly going to discuss the presidential guard's seizure of a container-load of walkie-talkies, boots and uniforms donated by the Japanese government to the police.

I forgive these youngsters
Gen Toto

But Capt Camara is said to have reacted angrily to news of the molestation of his number two and ordered the parade on national TV.

"We are proud of our history as an army and as a consequence we have no right to try to tarnish the image of a man who helped make it what we are today. We are his brothers and sons," Capt Camara said.

He also noted that Gen Toto was the only senior military officer to join the coup.

Marginalised

A teary-eyed Gen Toto accepted the apology:

"I am sure this is the first such incident and hope it will never happen again.

"Mr president, I submit myself to you and your sense of discipline. And in your name, I forgive these youngsters".

The BBC's Alhassan Sillah in the capital, Conakry, says Gen Toto has been marginalised in the junta since warning Capt Camara against making enemies by parading alleged drugs traffickers on TV.

Several top officials, including the son of former President Lansana Conte, have been arrested and accused of drugs trafficking since the coup.

Guinea, along with neighbouring countries, has become a major transit point for smuggling cocaine from Latin America to Europe.

Capt Camara has promised to hold elections this year and says none of the junta members will stand in them.



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