The Economic Community of West African
States (ECOWAS) is expressing "disgust" at the violence in Guinea that left at
least 58 people dead and several seriously injured.
<!-- IMAGE -->
Heavily armed security
forces shot at thousands of protesters who were attempting to hold a rally at a
national stadium against the possible presidential candidacy of military ruler
Captain Moussa Dadis Camara.
Abdelfatau Musah is the ECOWAS political director.
He told VOA that the sub-regional body wants the soldiers to
return to the barracks.
are) angry and disgusted. We requested that Captain Moussa Dadis Camara unambiguously
declared his intention not to run in the forthcoming election because that is
the bone of contention. Very little did we expect that he will go to this
extent," Musah said.
He said the sub-regional
body sharply condemns the violence.
"We are issuing a statement
right now, today, condemning the violence in the strongest possible term," he
Musah said ECOWAS demands
that the soldiers return to their camps.
"(We want them) to ask the
military to get back immediately to the barracks and then to make sure that the
preparation for the elections are put back on the agenda and that Dadis Camara
goes back to the barracks and never even attempt to become a candidate in this
election," Musah said.
He said Africans are not
over-enthused about military dictatorship.
"The people of West Africa
and for that matter Africa are learning everyday that the military rule is not
the solution to their problems and they have rejected it and it is out of
fashion today," he said.
<!-- IMAGE -->
Musah praised the work of
civil society groups in Guinea.
"When you have a country
where the civil society is cowed, they cannot do anything against authorities
and we are happy in the belief that the civil society in Guinea is very
steadfast and they know what they want and they are demanding it and they will
prevail in the end," Musah said.
He said ECOWAS is still
pursuing sanctions against Conakry.
"Already you know Guinea is
under sanctions. Under ECOWAS protocol we've got what we call graduated
sanctions. Now, Guinea is suspended from meetings at the level of heads of
state and at the ministerial level. We can go further… and that will be the
next step if he decides to go back on his promises," he said.
Musah said the military
ruler is being influenced by suspected drug dealers.
"He came pretending to fight
against the drug trafficking and others and today we know that some of the drug
barons in Guinea are some of his advisors," Musah said.
He said ECOWAS could employ
its military might if the crackdown on protesters continues.
"We do not rule out intervention
by the ECOWAS standby forces in Guinea," he said.
Musah said the sub-regional
body will ensure Guineans enjoy the tenets of democracy despite the coup
leader's attempt to participate in the upcoming election.
Captain Moussa Dadis Camara
seized power in a coup d'état shortly after long time President Lansana Conte
died in December last year.
He initially enjoyed
enormous support after the takeover, but his popularity sharply waned after he
refused to abide his promise not to participate in the presidential election.
<!-- IMAGE -->