France: War possible in Guinea if Camara returns

AP News
Posted: Dec 22, 2009 2:31 PM

France's foreign minister said Tuesday that Guinea could face civil war if the West African nation's wounded junta leader were to return home from Morocco, where he is receiving medical treatment.

Guinea's junta leader, Capt. Moussa "Dadis" Camara, was shot by his aide-de-camp early this month and evacuated to Morocco for emergency surgery. The state of his health is unclear, and the nation of 10 million has been essentially without a government since then.

A recent report by U.N. investigators on the troubled country says there is sufficient reason to believe that Camara was directly responsible for the mass killings and rapes of protesters in September.

French Foreign Minister Bernard Kouchner, answering questions in parliament, said he was waiting for the case on Guinea to go before the U.N. Security Council, adding, "there will be sanctions."

"In the meantime, I hope that Mr. Dadis Camara stays in his bed in Morocco and doesn't return (home), because he is capable _ his return alone is capable _ of setting off a civil war, and we don't need that," Kouchner said.

The U.N. investigators' report concluded that there are reasonable grounds to suspect that Camara, the army officer who shot him in a dispute Dec. 3, and Guinea's anti-drug chief bear "individual criminal responsibility" for the events of Sept. 28 and the following days.

The U.N. commission said 156 people were killed or disappeared, and at least 109 women or girls were victims of rape and sexual mutilation in Guinea's capital, Conakry. The commission said it considered the violence crimes against humanity.

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The junta has insisted that only 57 people were killed and has denied all acts of rape or sexual violence.

Earlier Tuesday, Kouchner said "the details of the massacre," as recounted in the 60-page report, "are very painful, even just to read."

"You cannot refrain from crying while reading it," he said.

Ba Oury, the spokesman for Guinea's main opposition coalition, said the report "will contribute to the fight against impunity in this country" and force leaders to realize they can be held accountable under international law.