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The streets are calm, but tension remains high in Conakry following the attempted assassination of Guinea's military ruler, Capt. Moussa Dadis Camara. The shooting, allegedly by the commander of the presidential guard, continues a pattern of violence and instability since Captain Camara took power in a coup exactly one year ago.
Defense Minister Sekouba Konate has assumed temporary control of the West African nation, and though Captain Camara is said to be recovering and his wounds reportedly are no cause of concern, the nation's future is uncertain nonetheless. Even before the attack, international aid groups working here reported security forces were arresting and harassing political activists following a massacre during a political rally in September.
Captain Camara himself has said he can't control some segments of the military whose loyalty is divided among several commanders. The assassination attempt could spark a new bout of military infighting or even lead to inter-ethnic strife, which helped fuel the beatings, killings, rapes and sexual assaults at the September 28 Stadium massacre. If the struggle spills across the borders into one of Guinea's neighbors it could threaten regional stability.
Though Guinea's political history is a troubled one, its economic potential as the leading producer of aluminum ore bauxite is great and could benefit all of its people. However, military rule there threatens this potential and the security of its citizens once again.
The United States is deeply concerned about the general breakdown of security in Conakry. It joins with Guinea's neighbors in the Economic Community of West African States, or ECOWAS, in urging the government of Guinea to work toward a peaceful resolution of the political situation by establishing a civilian-led transitional government leading to democratic elections, in which no member of the military will be a candidate, as promised by Captain Camara after taking power last December.