Page last updated at 22:23 GMT, Friday, 15 January 2010

Guinea coup leader Camara lets Konate remain in charge

Capt Moussa Dadis Camara
Many see Capt Camara's absence as the best hope for Guinea

Guinea's wounded leader Capt Moussa Dadis Camara has agreed to let his deputy lead the country while he recovers from an assassination attempt.

In a statement, the military junta said Capt Camara, who is convalescing in Burkina Faso, would support the transition to civilian rule.

Earlier, interim leader Sekouba Konate had threatened to resign in a row with supporters of Capt Camara.

He had opened talks with the opposition while Capt Camara was in hospital.

The announcement follow talks with Burkina Faso's president, who is mediating talks to resolve the country's crisis.

Caspar Leighton
Caspar Leighton
BBC News
When Capt Camara arrived in Burkina Faso, it was clear he was still very weak. His enfeebled condition may have persuaded loyalists calling for his return to Guinea that he was in no state to lead them.

The agreement that Capt Camara should remain out of Guinea will come as relief to the many observers who feared that his return might spark a conflict.

The fact that he will remain abroad does not however mean that all the stresses and divisions in Guinean society will go away. The army is not a unified body, though Gen Konate commands broad respect - and the heavy weaponry. The civilian opposition is also divided.

The veteran politician Jean-Marie Dore is the politicians' choice for interim prime minister, Rabiatou Serah Diallo is the trade unionists' candidate. Whoever is eventually chosen will not be uniformly supported.

The declaration said Capt Camara was "willingly taking a period of convalescence".

According to AFP news agency, the junta leaders have also agreed to form a unity government followed by polls in six months.

Capt Camara had been receiving treatment in Morocco following an assassination attempt by his former aide-de-camp on 3 December.

When he left hospital on Tuesday, he reportedly thought he was going to Conakry, only to find himself in Burkina Faso.

BBC West Africa correspondent Caspar Leighton says both the international community and the Guinean opposition see Capt Camara's absence as the best hope for an orderly transition to civilian, democratic rule.

Earlier on Friday, Capt Camara's staunchest supporters were pressing for him to return to Conakry.

But our correspondent said this seemed to push Gen Konate to threaten to resign and accuse Capt Camara's allies of wanting to start a war in Guinea.

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
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
12 January 2010
Capt Camara leaves hospital in Rabat and is flown to Burkina Faso

Capt Camara seized power in a coup in December 2008 after the death of long-time ruler Lansana Conte.

At first he promised a return to civilian rule, but soon dropped hints that he would stand for president himself.

That led to a pro-democracy rally on 28 September in the capital, Conakry, at which rights groups say more than 150 people were killed when the military opened fire.

A recent UN report on the stadium massacre said Capt Camara should face trial at the International Criminal Court over the brutal suppression.

Gen Konate has offered the post of prime minister to the opposition.

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