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Eleven months after he seized power in a military coup, the leader of the junta in the African country of Guinea has been flown to Morocco for emergency treatment. That's after surviving an apparent assassination attempt yesterday. He was shot by an officer in his inner circle.
As NPR's Ofeibea Quist-Arcton reports, the attack is a testament to the continuing political and military power struggle in Guinea.
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Unidentified Woman: (Foreign language spoken)
OFEIBEA QUIST-ARCTON: This announcement on Guinea state television confirms that the country's military leader, Captain Moussa Dadis Camara, had been targeted in an armed attack Thursday night. Conflicting reports from within the junta said Camara was slightly injured and that his life was not in danger, while others said he had been hit in the head and neck and required extensive medical tests, prompting the medevac to Morocco.
The officers said to have pulled the trigger, Lieutenant Abubakar Siddique Diakite, nicknamed Toumba, was a close ally from within Camara's own presidential guard. For many Guineans the alleged attempt on his life confirms months of rumors about in-fighting within the army with ethnic overtones. The divisions apparently deepened over who might be held responsible once the United Nations announced it was to investigate a brutal military crackdown on an opposition rally in September.
Rights groups said more than a 150 people were killed and dozens of women raped in public. The military leader blamed troops he described as renegade elements within an army he did not control. But witnesses have implicated Camara's commanders in the violence, including Toumba, as the ringleader. He is now said to be on the run.
Major KELETIGUI FARO (Presidential Spokesman): (Foreign language spoken)
QUIST-ARCTON: A presidential spokesman, Major Keletigui Faro, told the nation in a televised broadcast that the junta remained in full control. Guinea's political opposition questions that assurance, and along with Washington and other African and Western governments, has urged a military leader to quit. In a BBC interview, Jean-Marie Dore, a senior opposition member, warned of more political uncertainty in Guinea. But does he expect more tension?
Mr. JEAN-MARIE DORE (Political Leader, Guinea): Yeah. Because, basically, I think this will clarify the situation.
QUIST-ARCTON: However what no one likely anticipated was that Camara's departure, his first outside Guinea since he seized power almost a year ago, would be onboard a medical plane leaving a deeply unstable country behind and a region concerned that the violence in Guinea might spread across its borders.
Ofeibea Quist-Arcton, NPR News, Dakar.
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