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Guinea soldier wanted over stadium massacre appears in court
by Staff Writers
Dakar (AFP) Dec 29, 2016

Burkina leader names new army chief after jihadist raid
Ouagadougou (AFP) Dec 29, 2016 - Burkina Faso's President Roch Marc Christian Kabore has named a new military commander, two weeks after jihadists killed 12 soldiers in a major raid, a government statement said Thursday.

Colonel Oumarou Sadou was made chief of the armed forces general staff, according to the document released after a cabinet meeting. He replaces General Pingrenoma Zagre.

The appointment "comes in the framework of the reorganisation of the armed forces", Kabore said on Twitter.

Sadou, 57, comes from the arid Sahel region in northern Burkina Faso, which is frequently attacked by jihadists from Mali, across the border.

On December 12, jihadists killed 12 soldiers in one such attack against an army squad at Nassoumbou in the Djibo district, about 30 kilometres (19 miles) from the frontier.

The raid -- the deadliest ever against Burkina Faso's military -- caused a public outcry, with some calling for the sacking of a military leadership accused of failing to match up to the jihadist threat.

A first attack on troops in the same region in October left six dead, two civilians as well as four soldiers.

Sadou, who served as army chief of staff in 2011 and was later entrusted with the oversight tasks of inspector of the armed forces, has a reputation for tough tactics.

Long spared the Islamist violence affecting several nations in the region, notably Mali and Niger, Burkina has been hit by a series of attacks and kidnappings since April 2015.

Most of the raids have occurred near the northern border, but in January 2016, 30 people were killed and 71 wounded in the capital Ouagadougou after gunmen stormed a restaurant and a four-star hotel, taking hostages.

Al-Qaeda in the Islamic Maghreb (AQIM) claimed responsibility for the attacks, which ended after Burkinabe troops and French counterterrorist forces posted in the country staged an offensive.

A Guinean soldier implicated in a 2009 massacre at a Conakry stadium has appeared before a court prosecutor in Dakar, as details emerged about his years living in neighbouring Senegal under a false identity.

Fugitive Aboubacar Sidiki Diakite, who gained notoriety for the December 2009 shooting of Guinea coup leader Dadis Camara after a dispute over responsibility for the massacre, was arrested two weeks ago in Dakar.

Diakite's lawyer told AFP Thursday a prosecutor questioned him on Wednesday to confirm his identity and informed him he could be extradited to face justice in Guinea.

Camara and Diakite are both accused of involvement in the September 2009 incident at an opposition rally, where witnesses reported presidential guards firing on the crowd, beating and arresting opposition leaders, and raping dozens of women.

A UN investigation found that 157 people were killed and at least 109 women raped in the stadium and its surroundings.

Three months later Diakite shot Camara in the head at a military camp in Conakry, accusing his ally of wanting him to bear sole responsibility for the massacre of 157 people.

After being seriously injured in the attempted assassination, Camara was evacuated to Morocco and has since been living in Ouagadougou, while Diakite disappeared.

Diakite is opposed to extradition, his lawyer Baba Diop told AFP, fearing for his safety.

Diop also told AFP that the Senegalese authorities have yet to receive any extradition order from Guinea, and that he would be requesting Diakite's release if it was not received within the legally mandated maximum of 21 days.

Meanwhile Senegalese media was buzzing with details of Diakite's change of identity and appearance that allowed him to live unnoticed in Dakar for the last five years.

He was under surveillance for an extended period to ascertain whether the man living as "Aboubacar Barry" was indeed Diakite, according to a Senegalese police source speaking to the APS news agency.

Diakite was unrecognisable, the policeman said, describing a "total change" in appearance as had put on considerable weight.

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