Exiled Guinea leader appeals for reconciliation

Guinea’s exiled leader has appealed for peace and
reconciliation, urging his countrymen to put aside ethnic differences and set the stage for elections in six months.

Speaking to reporters in Burkina Faso’s capital, Captain Moussa “Dadis” Camara said on Sunday he had not been pressured to agree to the breakthrough deal on Friday that effectively ended the nation’s crisis and keeps him in voluntary exile.

The agreement calls on Camara’s deputy — General Sekouba Konate — to act as interim leader and help organise elections that will hand power to a civilian government this summer.

The deal, mediated by Burkina Faso President Blaise Compaore, has been hailed as a second chance for Guinea’s 10-million people, who lived in terror during the last few months of Camara’s rule and suffered decades of dictatorship under his predecessor.

Referring to Konate, Camara said: “I call on you, the sons and daughters of Guinea, to give him the necessary support for the cause of democracy.”

He also called on the people of Guinea to put aside ethnic differences, and said he would continue to consult with Konate “in the interest of a successful transition which will lead to the election of a democratically elected president”.

The 46-year-old Camara was shot in the head by his aide-de-camp in early December and rushed to Morocco for emergency surgery. Last week, he was unexpectedly flown to Ouagadougou.

Camara said his “life is no longer in danger, but … I need to rest.” He said he was free to recover “wherever I would like,” but he gave no details on how long he would stay in Burkina Faso.

Over the weekend, African diplomats descended on Burkina Faso the ensure a deal was sealed and show support.

Returning home Sunday, Liberian President Ellen Johnson Sirleaf said she encouraged Camara to respect the agreement. She said Camara has concerns “about his people in Guinea, who are looking forward to … his returning to assure them that he has regained part of his health. But at the same time, he recognises that he needs to continue to seek health. He’s not totally well and he
recognises that.”

She said Camara was working with Compaore to “see whether he stays there [in Burkina Faso] or whether he seeks medical attention elsewhere”. – Sapa-AP

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