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Page last updated at 18:11 GMT, Tuesday, 8 December 2009

Guinea junta arrests 60 for 'trying to kill Camara'

Men sit near a mural depicting Guinean junta leader Capt Moussa Dadis Camara in Conakry, 06/12
Capt Moussa Dadis Camara was shot in the head

Alleged plotters who tried to kill Guinea's junta leader Capt Moussa Dadis Camara are being "hunted down" and arrested, the military government says.

Junta spokesman Idrissa Cherif told the BBC more than 60 people had been held over last week's assassination attempt.

Other reports say troops are torturing and killing people and residents of the capital, Conakry, are living in terror.

Rights groups say Capt Camara, who is recovering after treatment for a bullet wound in the head, should step down.

He was flown to Morocco for surgery after the incident - with conflicting reports on the seriousness of his injuries.

Junta officials say Lt Aboubacar "Toumba" Diakite, head of the presidential guard, carried out the attack on Capt Camara. He has not been caught.

'Settling of scores'

"One of the brains behind the attack has been arrested just this morning," Mr Cherif told the BBC's Focus on Africa programme.

"They are hunting them down in their hideouts. Altogether more than 60 people have been arrested."

CAMARA'S RULE
Guinea map
23, 24 December 2008
Strongman President Lansana Conte dies, Capt Camara takes over, promises 2010 election
15 August 2009
Says he may stand for president
28 September
Soldiers kill protesters in Conakry, reports of atrocities and rapes
October
US, EU, African Union and Ecowas impose sanctions on junta
3 December
Capt Camara shot in the head in apparent assassination attempt
4 December
Flown to Morocco for surgery

A rights campaigner in Conakry, who did not want to be named, told the BBC the crackdown had spread much wider than just those suspected of links to the assassination attempt.

The campaigner said people were living in terror and even imams had been targeted because of their opposition to the military rule.

He said properties were being looted and sometimes destroyed.

The Associated Press reported that soldiers had targeted a local traditional healer accused of trying to use magic to help Lt Diakite.

AP said a group of soldiers shot and injured the man in the street as he ran away from them.

Reuters news agency reported that gunfire had rung out almost daily in Conakry, as loyalist soldiers swept through the city rooting out anyone suspected of links to Lt Diakite.

"All those who were seen with [Toumba] - soldiers, civilians and even charlatans - are being systematically arrested and tortured. Some of them are being killed," Reuters quoted an unnamed police official as saying.

"The most worrying thing is that they are not bothering to seriously question those who are arrested. At this rate, this will turn into a settling of scores."

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.



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