Human Rights Group: Guinea Military Kills 157 in Crackdown

Human Rights Group: Guinea Military Kills 157 in Crackdown
Human Rights Group: Guinea Military Kills 157 in Crackdown


Ricci Shryock

<!-- IMAGE -->

Guinea's military ruler is trying to distance himself from Monday's killing of at least 150 opposition demonstrators by security forces.  The death toll from Monday's shootings continues to rise as victims of the violence are located.

Military police opened fired on demonstrators at Conakry's September 28 Stadium who were protesting the expected candidacy of military ruler Captain Moussa Dadis Camara.

International condemnation of Monday's killing is mounting, with the Economic Community of West African States expressing its 'disgust' at the attacks. Former colonial power France says Captain Camara should listen to the Guinean people's legitimate aspiration to choose their leaders democratically.
Captain Camara is trying to distance himself from the killings, which mark the worst violence since he took power in a bloodless coup last December.

In an interview with Senegal's RFM Radio, Captain Camara said he wanted to go to the site of the attacks, but advisors told him it was not safe. He insisted he did not want the violence to occur and did not take power to have a confrontation with the Guinean people.

The scale of the killing will be difficult to determine because the military reportedly collected bodies themselves rather than allowing them to be counted at public morgues.

Human Rights Watch's Senior West Africa Researcher, Corinne Dufka, says Captain Camara should order an immediate investigation into Monday's violence.

"Dadis Camara has attributed these acts to uncontrolled elements within the military," she said. "This is completely and utterly unacceptable. This sounded like a well-organized operation. There were a number of military cars. If he is serious, he should order an investigation immediately and take immediate and concrete steps to hold those responsible accountable for this."

Dufka says Guinean security forces attacked unarmed civilians.

"I spoke to numerous witnesses in Guinea last night who described a horrific scene in which demonstrates who had gathered to protest the presumed candidacy of Captain Dadis Camara for the upcoming presidential elections in the stadium. Shortly after the political opposition leaders had arrived at the stadium the joint force of what sounded like police, military, red berets and gendarmes entered the stadium and started firing up in the air, throwing tear gas, as well as firing into the crowd," said Corinne Dufka.

Demonstrators held signs that read "No to Dadis." As they marched from the capital's outskirts into the city, they burned the furniture of at least one police station along the way.

Captain Camara took power last December hours after the death of longtime president Lansana Conte. The 45-year-old promised he would hold fair elections for Guinea and said he would not run for president in those elections.

But the ruling military council has since decided that anyone is eligible to stand in next year's scheduled presidential and legislative balloting. Last month, Captain Camara began telling his supporters that he will not insult them by ignoring their demands that he run for president.

Dufka says the protests mark a deep desire among many Guineans for a true democracy after decades of oppressive rule.

"I think also there is a deeper dynamic here, is that the Guinean people have lived through two long, authoritarian, brutal and corrupt regimes, and they are fed up. They want elections. They want free and fair elections, in which the process is dominated by civilians and not by the military," she said.

Though he has not formally announced his candidacy, the African Union has already announced it will sanction Captain Camara if he runs. The AU says it is concerned about what it calls a "deteriorating situation" in the country and the consequences of not returning to constitutional order.

The French Foreign Ministry says Captain Camara not standing for election "would allow for calm to return."

This forum has been closed.
There are no comments in this forum. Be first and add one

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
With HIV, Can We Get to Zero?i
Carol Pearson
November 29, 2015 1:23 PM
The theme of this year's World AIDS Day is "Getting to Zero." The U.N. says new HIV infections have been reduced by 35 percent since 2000 and AIDS-related deaths are down by 42 percent since the peak in 2004. VOA's Carol Pearson takes a look at what it might take to actually have an AIDS-free generation.

Video With HIV, Can We Get to Zero?

The theme of this year's World AIDS Day is "Getting to Zero." The U.N. says new HIV infections have been reduced by 35 percent since 2000 and AIDS-related deaths are down by 42 percent since the peak in 2004. VOA's Carol Pearson takes a look at what it might take to actually have an AIDS-free generation.

Video Political Motives Seen Behind Cancelled Cambodian Water Festival

For the fourth time in the five years since more than 350 people were killed in a stampede at Cambodia’s annual water festival, authorities canceled the event this year. Officials blamed environmental reasons as the cause, but many see it as fallout from rising political tensions with a fresh wave of ruling party intimidation against the opposition. David Boyle and Kimlong Meng report from Phnom Penh.

Video African Circus Gives At-Risk Youth a 2nd Chance

Ethiopia hosted the first African Circus Arts Festival this past weekend with performers from seven different African countries. Most of the performers are youngsters coming form challenging backgrounds who say the circus gave them a second chance.

Video US Lawmakers Brace for End-of-Year Battles

U.S. lawmakers are returning to Washington for Congress’ final working weeks of the year. And, as VOA's Michael Bowman reports, a full slate of legislative business awaits them, from keeping the federal government open to resolving a battle with the White House over the admittance of Syrian refugees.

Video Taiwan Looks for Role in South China Sea Dispute

The Taiwanese government is one of several that claims territory in the hotly contested South China Sea, but Taipei has long been sidelined in the dispute, overshadowed by China. Now, as the Philippines challenges Beijing’s claims in an international court at The Hague, Taipei is looking to publicly assert its claims. VOA’s Bill Ide has more from Beijing.

Video After Terrorist Attacks, Support for Refugees Fades

The terrorists who killed and injured almost 500 people around Paris this month are mostly French or Belgian nationals. But at least two apparently took advantage of Europe’s migrant crisis to sneak into the region. The discovery has hardened views about legitimate refugees, including those fleeing the same extremist violence that hit the French capital. Lisa Bryant has this report for VOA from the Paris suburb of Cergy-Pontoise

Video Syrian Refugees in US Express Concern for Those Left Behind

Syrian immigrants in the United States are concerned about the negative tide of public opinion and the politicians who want to block a U.S. plan to accept 10,000 Syrian refugees. Zlatica Hoke reports many Americans are fighting to dispel suspicions linking refugees to terrorists.

Video Thais Send Security Concerns Down the River

As Thailand takes in the annual Loy Krathong festival, many ponder the country’s future and security. Steve Sandford reports from Chiang Mai.

Video Islamic State Unfazed by Losses in Iraq, Syria

Progress in the U.S.-led effort to beat Islamic State on its home turf in Iraq and Syria has led some to speculate the terror group may be growing desperate. But counterterror officials say that is not the case, and warn the recent spate of terror attacks is merely part of the group’s evolution. VOA National Security correspondent Jeff Seldin has more.

Video Belgium-Germany Border Remains Porous, Even As Manhunt For Paris Attacker Continues

One of the suspected gunmen in the Nov. 13 Paris attacks, Salah Abdeslam, evaded law enforcement, made his way to Belgium, and is now believed to have fled to Germany. VOA correspondent Ayesha Tanzeem makes the journey across the border from Belgium into Germany to see how porous the borders really are.

Video US, Cambodian Navies Pair Up in Gulf of Thailand

The U.S. Navy has deployed one of its newest and most advanced ships to Cambodia to conduct joint training drills in the Gulf of Thailand. Riding hull-to-hull with Cambodian ships, the seamen of the USS Fort Worth are executing joint-training drills that will help build relations in Southeast Asia. David Boyle reports for VOA from Preah Sihanouk province.

Video Uncertain Future for Syrian Refugee Resettlement in Illinois

For the trickle of Syrian refugees finding new homes in the Midwest city of Chicago, the call to end resettlement in many U.S. states is adding another dimension to their long journey fleeing war. Organizations working to help them integrate say the backlash since the Paris attacks is both harming and helping their efforts to provide refugees sanctuary. VOA's Kane Farabaugh reports.

VOA Blogs