Moussa Dadis Camara was born in 1964 in the remote town of
Nzérékoré Prefecture, in the
Guinée Forestière region of southeastern
Guinea, near the border with
Côte d'Ivoire and
Liberia. He is a member of the
Kpelle ethnic group (known in Guinea as Guerze). Dadis attended primary and secondary school in
Nzérékoré, about 24 miles (40 km) away from his birth-town of Koulé. He studied law and economics at
Abdel Nasser University in the capital,
Conakry. He is a Roman Catholic Christian convert from Islam.
 Dadis speaks five languages: French,
Maninka and German.
He joined the Army of Guinea in 1990 as a
corporal and was later appointed as the Chief of Fuels at the Guinean army base in
Kindia, about 60 miles northeast of Conakry.
 From 2001 to 2002, Dadis was sent to
Sierra Leone as a member of the
United Nations' peacekeeping troops. In 2004, President Conté sent Dadis, along with several other Guinean soldiers, to
Bremen, Germany, for 18 months’ military training. In November 2008, he was named head of the Guinean army's fuel supplies unit, a branch of the Guinean
Minister of Defense's cabinet.
 He was one of the leading mutineers in the
2008 Guinean military unrest. Prior to the December 2008 coup, he was not well known by the general population.