Guinean junta massacres opponents


Moussa Dadis Camara

From British daily The Morning Star:

Opposition gunned down in rally attack

Tuesday 29 September 2009

Tom Mellen

Guinea‘s military junta was threatened with sanctions by the African Union on Tuesday after soldiers massacred at least 157 people attending an opposition rally in the capital Conakry.

Up to 50,000 people crammed into the capital’s stadium on Monday to protest against coup chief Captain Moussa Dadis Camara (pictured) when armed soldiers reportedly opened fire.

Guinean human rights activist Souleymane Bah said: “Soldiers were firing at people and those who tried to get out of the stadium were caught and finished off with bayonets.”

He witnessed dozens of corpses in the stadium and confirmed widespread reports of horrific abuse by soldiers.

“I saw soldiers strip women naked, spread their legs and stamp on their privates with their boots,” he reported.

Two former prime ministers, Cellou Dalein Diallo and Sidya Toure, were injured by soldiers as they were being detained. Several other leading opposition politicians were also hurt.

Mr Toure described the massacre as “a deliberate attempt” to eliminate the opposition to the coup.

It stepped up protests in recent weeks amid rumors that Cpt Camara, who has vowed not to stand in presidential elections scheduled for January 31, may go back on his word.

The African Union (AU) forcefully condemned the stadium masacre and “the indiscriminate firing on unarmed civilians, which left dozens dead and many others injured, while serious other violations of human rights were committed.”

It called on Cpt Camara to confirm that he would honour his pledge not to stand in the upcoming election, thus easing the transition to civilian rule.

“The AU commission is preparing a report on the developments in Guinea and possible measures to be taken, including sanctions,” it said.

UN chief Ban Ki Moon slammed the “excessive use of force” and said that he was “shocked by the loss of life, the high number of people injured and the destruction of property.

See also here. And here.

Armoured vehicles sold to the Guinean regime by a subsidiary of BAE Systems were used in the massacre of peaceful demonstrators, Amnesty International has revealed.

Niger’s political opposition have urged the new military junta to hold elections as soon as possible and restore civilian rule after a coup ousted president Mamadou Tandja: here.

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