Page last updated at 08:27 GMT, Monday, 7 December 2009

Guinea strongman 'favourable' after head surgery

Guinea President Moussa Dadis Camara
Capt Camara seized power in a coup a year ago

Guinea's military leader is in a "favourable" condition after surgery following an attempted assassination, doctors treating him in Morocco say.

Captain Moussa Dadis Camara was flown from Guinea for surgery on his head, although the extent of his injuries has not been officially disclosed.

Meanwhile, there were reports of gunfire in the capital late on Sunday.

Earlier, a West African regional grouping called for an immediate return to civilian rule in Guinea.

Capt Camara's deputy, Sekouba Konate, is temporarily in charge of the country.

The military leader was shot by an aide in a firefight between rival factions of Guinea's army. Two other people died.

Born 1964 in far south-east
Seized power in December 2008 as a little-known army captain
Promised democracy but then showed signs of holding onto power
Increasingly erratic behaviour and public humiliation of officials
Has pledged to tackle drugs traffickers
Initially blamed "uncontrollable" military elements for September 28 killings

The call by the Economic Community of West African States (Ecowas) confirms the position taken soon after soldiers opened fire on an opposition demonstration on 28 September, killing an estimated 157 people.

Lt Abubakar Diakite, the aide who allegedly shot Capt Camara, remains on the run.

Lt Diakite, commonly known as Toumba, is not only suspected of trying to kill Capt Dadis Camara but attempting a coup d'etat.

That has not materialised and the military government in power for nearly a year appears to be holding firm despite the clear divisions demonstrated by Thursday's confrontation, the BBC's West Africa correspondent Caspar Leighton reports.

The AP news agency reports that shots were heard near the barracks of the presidential guard hours after state TV broadcast an appeal for information on Lt Diakite's whereabouts.

The AFP news agency says it has spoken to Lt Diakite, who says he is in a "safe place" in Guinea with "a fair number of men.

He refused to discuss the shooting of Capt Camara.

Speaking to the BBC, diplomatic sources have expressed hope that a reshuffle prompted by the absence of Capt Camara might create some movement in Guinea's political log-jam, especially if he is facing a convalescence of any length, our correspondent adds.

Mediation between the military government and the civilian opposition has so far stalled because of intransigence on both sides.

Guinea is supposed to be holding a presidential election at the end of January and the opposition wants a civilian-run transitional government until then.

The military insists on heading any transitional authority and Capt Dadis Camara has seemed keen to run for president.

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The Scotsman Guinea leader is 'conscious and speaking' as manhunt continues - 7 hrs ago
Al Jazeera Guinean assassination suspect held - 13 hrs ago
South Africa MercuryGuinea's junta told to give power to civilians - 28 hrs ago Guinea: Civilian rule needed - 35 hrs ago
Reuters UK Guinea junta leader "out of danger" -spokesman - 45 hrs ago
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