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Strange Twists in Capt Dadis Camara’s Visit to Guinea: Camara’s Assassin Calls to Offer Condolences and Liberian President, Ellen Johnson Sirleaf, Asks to Meet with Him

April 12, 2013



Between last night and this morning, Guinean websites have reported the following developments concerning Capt. Dadis Camara’s return to bury his mother, who died in Morocco last week.

But first, recall that:

Camara became leader of the military junta that took over after President Lansana Conte died in 2008. It was under Camara’s watch that the September 28, 2009, massacre and rapes of opposition protesters occurred. He is under indictment at the International Criminal Court for associated crimes against humanity. Camara has always maintained that Guinean politicians and high-ranking military officers played a key role and that he was left in the dark about the true intentions to commit a massacre and mass rape of women at the opposition rally at the stadium..

In December 2009, Toumba Diakite, Camara’s aide-de-camp, shot Camara in the head, wounding him gravely. He survived the attack and was airlifted to a Moroccan hospital. After his initial recovery, Guinea transferred him, against his will, to Burkina Faso in early 2010 to continue his convalescence. Camara was placed in the care of Burkina Faso president, Blaise Compare. Camara has been in Ougadougou ever since.

With an ICC indictment hanging over his head, it is doubtful that Camara will go down quietly or without taking others with him. In addition, in the matter of Diakite’s attempted assassination of him in 2009, Camara can and, if the opportunity presents itself, will implicate civilians and military involved in the assassination attack.

With his return to bury his mother, all of the foregoing, make him one “hot potato” for the Guinean government. If Camara were to travel to Conakry, which appears doubtful at this point, it would be incumbent on the government to apprehend him and send him to the Hague. But, having him at the Hague means he will tell all about everyone. It looks like the Guinean government has figured a way to keep him out of Conakry and limit his stay on Guinean territory to his home area of N’Zerekore, where his mother will be buried.

Yet, strange things are developing. Guinean websites and RFI are reporting:

-Toumba Diakite, who shot Camara in December 2009, called Camara to offer his condolences on the occasion of hi mother’s death. Camara’s relatives said the phone call lasted no more than three minutes and that Camara was not particularly heartened by the call.

-Camara arrived in Monrovia yesterday morning with the intention of travelling today or tomorrow to N’Zerekore. It is not certain if Camara will fly there or go via car. Camara is accompanied by Burkinabe bodyguards.

-Early Thursday morning, the remains of Camara’s mother were flown from Morocco to Conakry so that relatives living there could pay respects. After that, the body will be transferred to N’Zerekore for a funeral and burial on Sunday. Relatives said the Guinean government offered to fly the body to N’Zerekore, but they have contracted a hearse to carry the body instead.

-The Guinean government sent a delegation headed by Guinea’s First Lady to the home of relatives in Conakry to express condolences. The government has ordered two planes to fly from Conakry to N’Zerekore tomorrow for the Sunday funeral: one, to carry the body of Camara’s mother and some Conakry relatives and the second, to carry the First Lady and other government representatives.

-AND, the most amazing development. Liberian President, Ellen Johnson Sirleaf, has asked to meet with Camara prior to his departure from Monrovia.

Guinea Oye will resist the temptation to speculate on what these events combined might mean, but will provide updates as they become available.

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