December 6, 2009 / 3:22 PM / 10 years ago

Guinea leader's health no cause for concern: doctor

RABAT/CONAKRY (Reuters) - The health of Guinea’s junta leader is not a cause for concern, the chief doctor at Morocco’s main military hospital said on Sunday after Moussa Dadis Camara was treated for head wounds from a gun attack.

Captain Moussa Dadis Camara, chief of the ruling junta, speaks to journalists in his office at the military camp Alpha Yaya in Conakry October 1, 2009. Guinean opposition leaders rejected on Thursday the ruling junta's offer of a national unity government and called for foreign intervention to prevent more bloodshed after the killing of protesters on Monday. Camara, facing the threat of international sanctions after security forces killed scores of anti-government protesters, wants to ease tensions in the world's biggest exporter of the aluminium ore bauxite. REUTERS/Luc Gnago (GUINEA MILITARY POLITICS IMAGES OF THE DAY)

A government source in the Moroccan capital Rabat said it could still be several days before Camara was well enough to return to his West African nation, where he survived an assassination bid by renegade soldiers on Thursday.

“The current health condition of the Guinean president does not inspire concern,” said the Moroccan doctor, Ali Abrouq.

“The result of the operation is favourable,” he said in a statement, adding that Camara underwent surgery on Friday to treat trauma of the cranium.

Defence Minister Sekouba Konate, viewed as loyal to Camara, has assumed temporary control of the world’s top exporter of the aluminium ore bauxite, seen as a security linchpin in a region that has experienced three major civil wars in the last decade.

A Reuters eyewitness said the capital Conakry was quiet and many residents remained at home, fearing outbreaks of violence between factions of the unruly army in Camara’s absence.

A Moroccan government source told Reuters earlier that Camara was conscious after the operation he underwent in a hospital outside Rabat.

“It may take more than three days for the president to leave the hospital,” the source said.

Junta officials have played down the seriousness of Camara’s injuries, saying his head was grazed by a bullet when ex-aide de camp Aboubacar “Toumba” Diakite shot him at point blank range.

REWARD FOR WOULD-BE ASSASSIN

The incident came as U.N. investigators last week wound up their inquiry into a September 28 crackdown on pro-democracy demonstrators in Conakry which eyewitnesses said claimed at least 150 lives and was accompanied by mass rapes.

Witnesses named Toumba as ringleader of the crackdown. The U.N. report, which could lead to international prosecutions of those held to blame, is to be drafted later this month.

A hardened fighter known as “El Tigre” for his courage in battle, the low-profile Konate turned down the chance to run the junta after the December 2008 bloodless coup that followed the death of former strongman ruler Lansana Conte.

Konate commands strong support within the army and analysts said his next steps could be critical in shaping events in coming days — with some suggesting he could seize the chance to consolidate his already strong position.

“He was very much the power behind the throne, as it were. He’s now where he most likely wants to be,” said Tara O’Connor at London-based Africa Risk Consulting.

Under his leadership, the junta pledged on Saturday a “large reward” to anyone who helps track down Toumba and his men.

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