News

Guinea Launches Investigation Into Killing of Protesters

Guinea Launches Investigation Into Killing of Protesters
Guinea Launches Investigation Into Killing of Protesters
<!-- IMAGE -->

Guinea's military government says it is launching an investigation into who ordered security forces to open fire on demonstrators Monday, killing at least 157 people. Former colonial power France has cut military assistance following the attack against demonstrators protesting the expected presidential candidacy of the country's military ruler.

Military leaders in Guinea say they will investigate what happened at Conakry's main stadium Monday when government forces opened fire on opposition demonstrators.

An Interior Ministry statement late Thursday put the death toll at just 57, only four of them killed by bullets. The rest, it said, were trampled or died of asphyxiation.

Human rights groups in Guinea say at least 157 people were killed when members of the presidential guard shot into crowds of demonstrators to break-up the unauthorized protest. The final death toll may never be known as soldiers have already collected bodies themselves rather than allow them to be counted at public morgues.

French Foreign Minister Bernard Kouchner says Paris is immediately suspending military cooperation with the government in Conakry and is reviewing its entire bilateral aid package.

Kouchner says the European Union will meet Wednesday to look at additional measures that could be taken swiftly, particularly against individual members of the ruling military council.

U.S. President Barack Obama's administration condemns what it calls a brazen and inappropriate use of force against civilians. Deputy U.S. State Department Spokesman P.J. Crowley says Washington is deeply concerned about the general breakdown of security.

"We encourage the Guinean government to exercise restraint and insure the safety and security of all Guineans and foreign nationals," said P.J. Crowley. "We are very concerned about violations of basic human rights and call upon the regime to release all political prisoners. Obviously the reports of deaths, now over 150, [represent] a very, very significant loss of life and are of a great concern to us."

The Economic Community of West African States wants an international inquiry into the violence that includes the African Union and the United Nations Commission for Human Rights.

Instability in Guinea has raised concerns in neighboring Sierra Leone and Liberia - both still recovering from their own violent conflicts. Sierra Leone President Ernest Koroma says isolating Guinea at this time of political crisis will only make things worse.

"At this time in the critical developments of Guinea, we should ensure that the international community, ECOWAS, and the Manu River Union stay engaged with Guinea," said Ernest Koroma. "We must ensure that we help Guinea to restore a democratic process."

Facing the most violent repression of political dissent since taking power in a coup nine months ago, military leader Captain Moussa Dadis Camara has tried to distance himself from the killing, saying he did not know what was happening.

In a series of interviews since the violence, he has said he wanted to go the stadium himself but was told it was not safe. He says he can not control elements of Guinea's military responsible for what he is calling those atrocities.

It is a dramatic admission for a man who has ruled Guinea largely single-handedly since December. He has previously forced soldiers to crawl on their knees, begging for his forgiveness. Captain Camara has presided over a series of televised interrogations of previous government officials and shouted down the German ambassador for expressing European Union concerns that he might run for president next year.

By distancing himself from violence carried out by members of his own presidential guard, Captain Camara appears willing to give up those responsible for the killing if it restores some of the public confidence he gained early on by vowing to fight corruption.

The Interior Ministry statement says Captain Camara Tuesday expressed his condolences to the families of those killed in the violence and visited some of the injured at two hospitals.

Human Rights Watch says Captain Camara must hold accountable those responsible for opening fire on peaceful demonstrators. Corrine Dufka heads the group's operations in West Africa.

"Dadis Camara has attributed these acts to uncontrolled elements within the military," said Corrine Dufka. "This is completely and utterly unacceptable. This sounded like a well-organized operation."

On taking power, Captain Camara said none of the coup leaders would stand for political office. The ruling miliary council has since declared that everyone is eligible to run in next year's presidential and legislative elections.

While Captain Camara has not formally declared his candidacy, he has told supporters that he will not insult them by ignoring their demands that he run.

Dufka says the likelihood of Captain Camara's candidacy sparked Monday's protests.

"The Guinean people have lived through two long, authoritarian, brutal and corrupt regimes, and they are fed up," she said. "They want elections. They want free and fair elections, in which the process is dominated by civilians and not by the military."

The French government says Captain Camara deciding not to run would allow for calm to return. The U.S. government is calling on Guinea's ruling military council to respect its previous commitment to not field candidates in the election.

This forum has been closed.
Comments
     
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.
Russia Accused of Abusing Interpol to Pursue Opponentsi
X
Henry Ridgwell
July 28, 2015 9:53 PM
A British pro-democracy group has accused Russia of abusing the global law enforcement agency Interpol by requesting the arrest and extradition of political opponents. A new report by the group notes such requests can mean the accused are unable to travel and are often unable to open bank accounts. VOA's Henry Ridgwell reports.
Video

Video Russia Accused of Abusing Interpol to Pursue Opponents

A British pro-democracy group has accused Russia of abusing the global law enforcement agency Interpol by requesting the arrest and extradition of political opponents. A new report by the group notes such requests can mean the accused are unable to travel and are often unable to open bank accounts. VOA's Henry Ridgwell reports.
Video

Video Genome Initiative Urgently Moves to Freeze DNA Before Species Go Extinct

Earth is in the midst of its sixth mass extinction. The last such event was caused by an asteroid 66 million years ago. It killed off the dinosaurs and practically everything else. So scientists are in a race against time to classify the estimated 11 million species alive today. So far only 2 million are described by science, and researchers are worried many will disappear before they even have a name. VOA’s Rosanne Skirble reports.
Video

Video Scientists: One-Dose Malaria Cure is Possible

Scientists have long been trying to develop an effective protection and cure for malaria - one of the deadliest diseases that affects people in tropical areas, especially children. As the World Health Organization announces plans to begin clinical trials of a promising new vaccine, scientists in South Africa report that they too are at an important threshold. George Putic reports, they are testing a compound that could be a single-dose cure for malaria.
Video

Video Special Olympics Athletes Meet International Friends

The Special Olympics are underway in Los Angeles, California, with athletes from 165 countries participating in an event that gives people with intellectual disabilities the chance to take part in an international competition. VOA's Mike O'Sullivan reports that for athletes and their families, it's also an opportunity to make new friends in an international setting.
Video

Video 'New York' Magazine Features 35 Cosby Accusers

The latest issue of 'New York' magazine features 35 women who say they were drugged and raped by film and television celebrity Bill Cosby. The women are aged from 44 to 80 and come from different walks of life and races. The magazine interviewed each of them separately, but Zlatica Hoke reports their stories are similar.
Video

Video US Calls Fight Against Human Trafficking a Must Win

The United States is promising not to give up its fight against what Secretary of State John Kerry calls the “scourge” of modern slavery. Officials released the country’s annual human trafficking report Monday – a report that’s being met with some criticism. VOA’s National Security correspondent Jeff Seldin has more from the State Department.
Video

Video Iran Nuclear Pact Wins Few New US Congressional Backers

Later this week, President Barack Obama returns from a trip to Africa to confront a U.S. Congress roiled by the nuclear accord with Iran, an agreement that has received the blessing of the U.N. Security Council. Days of intensive lobbying and testimony by top administration officials have won few new congressional supporters of the pact. VOA’s Michael Bowman reports.
Video

Video Washington DC Underground Streetcar Station to Become Arts Venue

Abandoned more than 50 years ago, the underground streetcar station in Washington D.C.’s historic DuPont Circle district is about to be reborn. The plan calls for turning the spacious underground platforms - once meant to be a transportation hub, - into a unique space for art exhibitions, presentations, concerts and even a film set. Roman Mamonov has more from beneath the streets of the U.S. capital. Joy Wagner narrates his report.
Video

Video Europe’s Twin Crises Collide in Greece as Migrant Numbers Soar

Greece has replaced Italy as the main gateway for migrants into Europe, with more than 100,000 arrivals in the first six months of 2015. Many want to move further into Europe and escape Greece’s economic crisis, but they face widespread dangers on the journey overland through the Balkans. VOA's Henry Ridgwell reports.
Video

Video Stink Intensifies as Lebanon’s Trash Crisis Continues

After the closure of a major rubbish dump a week ago, the streets of Beirut are filling up with trash. Having failed to draw up a plan B, politicians are struggling to deal with the problem. John Owens has more for VOA from Beirut.
Video

Video Paris Rolls Out Blueprint to Fight Climate Change

A U.N. climate conference in December aims to produce an ambitious agreement to fight heat-trapping greenhouse gases. But many local governments are not waiting, and have drafted their own climate action plans. That’s the case with Paris — which is getting special attention, since it’s hosting the climate summit. Lisa Bryant takes a look for VOA at the transformation of the French capital into an eco-city.
Video

Video Racially Diverse Spider-Man Takes Center Stage

Whether it’s in a comic book or on the big screen, fans have always known the man behind the Spider-Man mask as Peter Parker. But that is changing, at least in the comic book world. Marvel Comics announced that a character called Miles Morales will replace Peter Parker as Spider-Man in a new comic book series. He is half Latino, half African American, and he is quite popular among comic book fans. Correspondent Elizabeth Lee reports from Los Angeles.
Video

Video Critics of Japan Defense Policy Focus on Okinawa

In Okinawa, many locals have long complained that Tokyo places an unfair burden on the tiny island by locating most of Japan's U.S. military bases there. As Japan's government moves toward strengthening and expanding the country's defense policies, opponents of those plans are joining local protesters in Okinawa, voicing concern about where the country is headed. VOA’s Brian Padden reports from Okinawa.
Video

Video IS Uses Chemical Weapons in Syrian Attack

Islamic State militants have added a new weapon in their arsenal of fear: chemical weapons. VOA Kurdish service reporter Zana Omer was on the scene within hours of a recent attack in Hasakah, Syria, and has details of the subsequent investigation, in this report narrated by Miguel Amaya.
Video

Video Historic Symbol Is Theme of Vibrant New Show

A new exhibit in Washington is paying tribute to the American flag with a wide and eclectic selection of artwork that uses the historic symbol as its central theme. VOA’s Julie Taboh was at the DC Chamber of Commerce for the show’s opening.

VOA Blogs