News

    Guinea Marks First Anniversary of Military Coup

    All demonstrations banned with defense minister in charge and army captain still in Moroccan military hospital

    Multimedia

    Audio

    Guinea is quietly marking the first anniversary of a military government the United Nations says has committed crimes against humanity.  All demonstrations are banned.

    In the hours after President Lansana Conte's death one year ago, Guinea's military moved quickly to suspend the constitution.

    Seizing power, Army Captain Moussa Dadis Camara said he asked God to take him far from injustice, corruption, impunity, and tribalism to prevent bloody violence.  The 44-year-old head of army fuel supplies said the military was protecting Guinea from a dysfunctional constitution.

    Captain Camara said it is not the ambition of the military to keep power, but rather to avoid war because, he asked, what would happen in a power struggle between political parties, the national assembly, and the Conte government?

    There was no power struggle as civilian politicians surrendered.

    Vowing to fight corruption and promising not to run in elections, Captain Camara initially enjoyed some popular support.

    But daylight banditry by uniformed soldiers and the ruling council's decision that soldiers can stand as political candidates led to increasingly vocal opposition. 

    Thousands of people demonstrated September 28 against Captain Camara's expected presidential candidacy.  At least 157 people were killed when soldiers opened fire.  As many as 100 women were raped and sexually assaulted. 

    A U.N. inquiry says the violence amounts to a crime against humanity that is directly attributable to the military government, including Captain Camara.  He blamed political opponents and "uncontrollable elements" of the military. 

    The former head of the presidential guard says Captain Camara tried to blame him for the violence, so he shot the captain in the head three weeks ago and escaped with a small group of soldiers.

    In the political instability that has followed, international mediators have called for an outside protection force.  Tierno Madjou Sow is president of Guinea's Human Rights Organization.

    Sow says the Guinean people have no protection from an army that injures them, kills them and loots their possessions.  Normally, he says, an army exists to serve the people not to serve individual interests or politics.

    With Captain Camara recovering in a Moroccan military hospital, Defense Minister Sekouba Konate has taken charge, calling for discipline.

    General Konate has toured military barracks in the capital, saying soldiers must now reassure the Guinean people. 

    He says that among young people in the army, there are some who are very bad and they must be humbled because what happened before should not happen again.  The general says the army must recognize that inside its own forces there are some people who have sown discord. And, he says, we know who they are. 

    Aliou Barry heads Guinea's national observer mission on human rights.

    Barry says Guineans are living with insecurity.  He says he likes General Konate's call for order, but fears the level of dissonance within the ruling military council.

    That council says the deployment of any outside military force would be an act of war.  It rejects international mediators' demands that soldiers not be allowed to run in elections.

    There is no official word on when Captain Camara might return to Guinea.  And that uncertainty is overshadowing talks on a possible power sharing agreement.

    In a national radio program marking the anniversary of the coup, military spokesman Colonel Moussa Keita said Captain Camara is "doing very well" and "will be back to Conakry soon."

    French Foreign Minister Bernard Kouchner told lawmakers in Paris this week that he hopes Captain Camara does not return to Guinea, as he says that could trigger civil war.

    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.
    Turkish Kurd Islamist Rally Stokes Tensionsi
    X
    April 29, 2016 12:28 AM
    In a sign of the rising power of Islamists in Turkey, more than 100,000 people recently gathered in Diyarbakir, the main city in Turkey’s predominantly Kurdish southeast, to mark the birthday of the Prophet Muhammad. The gathering highlighted tensions with the pro-secular Kurdish nationalist movement. Dorian Jones reports from Diyarbakir.
    Video

    Video Turkey Islamists

    In a sign of the rising power of Islamists in Turkey, more than 100,000 people recently gathered in Diyarbakir, the main city in Turkey’s predominantly Kurdish southeast, to mark the birthday of the Prophet Muhammad. The gathering highlighted tensions with the pro-secular Kurdish nationalist movement. Dorian Jones reports from Diyarbakir.
    Video

    Video Pakistani School Helps Slum Kids

    Master Mohammad Ayub runs a makeshift school in a public park in Islamabad. Thousands of poor children have benefited from his services over the years, but, as VOA's Ayesha Tanzeem reports, roughly 25 million school-age youths don't get an education in Pakistan.
    Video

    Video Florida’s Weeki Wachee ‘Mermaids’ Make a Splash

    Since 1947, ‘mermaids’ have fascinated tourists at central Florida’s Weeki Wachee Springs State Park with their fluid movements and synchronized ballet. Performing underwater has its challenges, including cold temperatures and a steady current, as VOA’s Lin Yang and Joseph Mok report.
    Video

    Video Somali, African Union Forces Face Resurgent Al-Shabab

    The Islamic State terror group claimed its first attack in Somalia earlier this week, though the claim has not been verified by forces on the ground. Meanwhile, al-Shabab militants have stepped up their attacks as Somalia prepares for elections later this year. Henry Ridgwell reports there are growing frustrations among Somalia’s Western backers over the country’s slow progress in forming its own armed forces to establish security after 25 years of chaos.
    Video

    Video Bangladesh Targeted Killings Spark Wave of Fear

    People in Bangladesh’s capital are expressing deep concern over the brutal attacks that have killed secular blogger, and most recently a gay rights activist and an employee of the U.S. embassy. Xulhaz Mannan, an embassy protocol officer and the editor of the country’s only gay and transgender magazine Roopban; and his friend Mehboob Rabbi Tanoy, a gay rights activist, were hacked to death by five attackers in Mannan’s Dhaka home earlier this month.
    Video

    Video Documentary Tells Tale of Chernobyl Returnees

    Ukraine this week is marking the 30th anniversary of the world's worst nuclear accident, at the Chernobyl nuclear power plant. Soviet officials at first said little about the accident, but later evacuated a 2,600-square-kilometer "exclusion zone." Some people, though, came back. American directors Holly Morris and Anne Bogart created a documentary about this faithful and brave community. VOA's Tetiana Kharchenko reports from New York on "The Babushkas of Chernobyl." Carol Pearson narrates.
    Video

    Video Nigerians Feel Bite of Buhari Economic Policy

    Despite the global drop in the price of oil, Nigerian President Muhammadu Buhari has refused to allow the country's currency to devalue, leading to a shortage of foreign exchange. Chris Stein reports from Lagos businessmen and consumers are feeling the impact as the country deals with a severe fuel shortage.
    Video

    Video  Return to the Wild

    There’s a growing trend in the United States to let old or underused golf courses revert back to nature. But as Erika Celeste reports from one parcel in Grafton, Ohio, converting 39 hectares of land back to green space is a lot more complicated than just not mowing the fairway.
    Video

    Video West Urges Unity in Libya as Migrant Numbers Soar

    The Italian government says a NATO-led mission aimed at stemming the flow of migrants from Libya to Europe could be up and running by July. There are concerns that the number of migrants could soar as the route through Greece and the Balkans remains blocked. Western powers say the political chaos in Libya is being exploited by people smugglers — and they are pressuring rival groups to come together under the new unity government. VOA's Henry Ridgwell reports.
    Video

    Video Russia’s TV Rain Swims Against Tide in Sea of Kremlin Propaganda

    Russia’s media freedoms have been gradually eroded under President Vladimir Putin as his government has increased state ownership, influence, and restrictions on critical reporting. Television, where most Russians get their news, has been the main target and is now almost completely state controlled. But in the Russian capital, TV Rain stands out as an island in a sea of Kremlin propaganda.

    Special Report

    Adrift The Invisible African Diaspora