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Rights Group: Guinea Military Killed at Least 157 in Crackdown

Rights Group: Guinea Military Killed at Least 157 in Crackdown
Rights Group: Guinea Military Killed at Least 157 in Crackdown

A local human rights group in Guinea says a bloody military crackdown on anti-government protesters killed at least 157 people and wounded more than 1,200 others.

The Guinean Organization for Defense of Human Rights says the death toll continues to rise as aid groups and medical workers discover more people gunned down by security forces in a crowded stadium in Conakry on Monday.

Witnesses say security forces fired into the air and then into the crowd of about 50,000 people.

Human Rights Watch on Tuesday quoted witnesses, including medical personnel, who described a bloody massacre.  The witnesses said protesters were shot multiple times, stabbed with knives and bayonets and women were beaten and sexually assaulted.

Guinea's military ruler, Captain Moussa Dadis Camara, admitted some soldiers lost control at the rally, which was staged to protest his expected bid for president.  In a radio interview with Senegal's RFM Radio late Monday, Captain Camara insisted he did not want the violence to occur.

Monday's crackdown has drawn worldwide condemnation.

The European Union on Tuesday called for those responsible to be held accountable.  The United Nations Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon, the African Union and the French government condemned the military's use of force.
 
Captain Camara took power in a coup last December following the death of Guinea's longtime president, Lansana Conte.

When he took power, Captain Camara said no one in his ruling council would run for public office.  However, the council has since said its members are eligible to be candidates.  And Captain Camara has suggested he may run for president in elections scheduled for next year.

The African Union says it may impose sanctions on Guinea if that happens.

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