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Guinea's Military Leader Agrees to Leave of Absence

VOA News 15 January 2010

Guinea's wounded military leader, Captain Moussa Dadis Camara, has agreed to remain out of power as he recovers from an assassination attempt, leaving the interim head of the junta in charge of the country.

Captain Camara and interim leader General Sekouba Konate issued a joint statement Friday following their talks in Burkina Faso, where Captain Camara is recovering.

Many in the international community, including the United States, have said they do not want Captain Camara to return to the country, fearing he will disrupt the transition back to civilian rule.

General Konate, who has taken steps to begin that transition, reportedly threatened to resign over Captain Camara's attempts to return to Guinea.

Negotiations between the leaders have been mediated by Burkina Faso's President Blaise Compaore.

Political tensions in Guinea have been running high since security forces killed more than 150 protesters at an opposition rally in September.

Captain Camara suffered head wounds when he was shot by the chief of his presidential guard on December 3.

The man who shot him, Lieutenant "Toumba" Diakite, remains in hiding. He has told interviewers that he shot the military leader because Captain Camara wanted to assign him full blame for the September 28 massacre in Guinea's capital, Conakry.

The military government has come under strong international pressure to restore civilian rule in the wake of the massacre.

Guinea's ruling junta took control in December 2008, shortly after the death of longtime President Lansana Conte.

Some information for this report was provided by AP, AFP and Reuters.

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