December 20, 2010 / 12:36 PM / 8 years ago

Guinea's former junta leader wants to return home

CONAKRY (Reuters) - Guinea’s former junta leader, Moussa Dadis Camara, says he wants to return to the West African state to be useful to its newly elected president after more than a year abroad recovering from an assassination attempt.

Captain Moussa Dadis Camara (C), chief of the ruling junta and General Sekouba Konate (R), defence minister and second-in-command of the ruling junta, arrive to pay homage at Martyrs Place in Conakry October 2, 2009, during celebrations commemorating the Republic of Guinea's independence day. REUTERS/Luc Gnago

The firebrand former leader, implicated by the United Nations in the massacre of more than 150 people by security forces in September 2009, said he planned to keep away from politics for the time being.

“I plan to return in good form to Guinea because it is my homeland,” he said in an interview aired by broadcaster Africable late on Sunday.

“I want to be useful to my country and to the new president, but I don’t need to be in politics. That is not my ambition for the moment.”

Guinean officials were not available on Monday to comment on whether he would be allowed to return.

Camara, who seized power in a coup after the death of President Lansana Conte, was shot in the head and wounded in an assassination attempt in December 2009 and was evacuated to Morocco for treatment. He was later sent to Burkina Faso, his current location, to convalesce.

The United Nations issued a report late last year naming him as among those responsible for the deaths of more than 150 protesters who were shot, beaten and cut to death by security forces in a Conakry stadium in September 2009.

The International Criminal Court said an initial investigation showed crimes against humanity were committed during the crackdown and urged timely prosecution.

Camara has denied he had any role in the killings.

“I never gave the order,” he said of allegations he ordered his soldiers to open fire on the crowd.

Camara’s deputy, General Sekouba Konate, took over after Camara’s evacuation and set the country on a course to elections which led to the election of veteran opposition leader Alpha Conde last month.

Conde is due to be sworn in on Tuesday and has said he plans to set up a truth and reconciliation commission modelled the one in post-apartheid South Africa aimed at healing the wounds of ethnic and political violence.

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