Q&A: Guinea military junta leader, Cpt. Moussa Dadis Camara
Guinea erupted into violence Monday when protesters rallied against rumors that Dadis Camara would run for president. Prior to the violence, he sat down for a rare interview with a Westerner.
The massacre of protesters rallying Monday against the current president in Guinea stoked international outcry against and scrutiny of the coastal West African nation. But outside of Guinea, few knew much about the target of the protests: military junta leader Cpt. Moussa Dadis Camara, who came to power in a bloodless coup in December. He had promised to hold elections to transition to civilian leadership. Reports that he was planning to run in January elections sparked public anger.Skip to next paragraph
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In the capital city, Conakry, an estimated 50,000 protesters gathered in a stadium in opposition to the planned bid. The UN says more than 150 people were killed when soldiers fired on them, though the Guinean junta says most died from the resulting stampede out of the stadium. (How did Guinea erupt into violence? Read more here.)
Laura Derby, a junior at the College of William and Mary in Williamsburg, Va., sat down for an interview July 25 with the Guinean leader in military camp Alpha Yaya Diallo in Conakry. They discussed Guinea's drug trafficking, its lacking infrastructure, and signs of the Guinean people's waning confidence in his rule. She was spending the summer as an intern with the US Department of Defense's HIV/AIDS program, teaching English to doctors at Camp Samory – the hospital where the injured from Monday's events were taken. Captain Dadis Camara told her at the time that she was the only American to have a personal interview with him.
Derby: How do you propose to deal with the potential threats posed by drug traffickers?
Camara: I start first of all by saying that the drug traffickers' threats, their capacity for sabotage, assassination, corruption, is unknowable; we don't ever know how they will strike, or in what manner. I am not afraid of threats. I am only afraid of not being worthy of the confidence of the people. I have the confidence of the Guinean people because of my fight against drugs, as well as the confidence of the powers of the world, internationally and in Africa. The fight against drugs is my first priority. There is no dialogue in the fight against drugs. There is no dialogue for this. The Army is also implicated in drugs. We need direction from the international community on how to eliminate the threat of drugs. It is a universal problem and requires the cooperation of the international community.