News / Africa

Guineans Tired of Cycle of Violence

Peul youths throw stones toward members of the Malinke ethnic group, during clashes between Malinke and Peul shopkeepers in Conakry, Guinea, Sept. 21, 2012. Peul youths throw stones toward members of the Malinke ethnic group, during clashes between Malinke and Peul shopkeepers in Conakry, Guinea, Sept. 21, 2012.
x
Peul youths throw stones toward members of the Malinke ethnic group, during clashes between Malinke and Peul shopkeepers in Conakry, Guinea, Sept. 21, 2012.
Peul youths throw stones toward members of the Malinke ethnic group, during clashes between Malinke and Peul shopkeepers in Conakry, Guinea, Sept. 21, 2012.
Nancy Palus
Shop owners in Guinea’s capital, Conakry, started resuming business little by little on Tuesday, after days of unrest that had many traders waiting and watching.  Since an opposition rally last week, the city has seen clashes between supporters of the two main political camps - a division that runs largely along ethnic lines.  Guineans say the government and the opposition must reach out to each other and to their supporters to stop the cycle of violence.
 
Vendors shout their prices in Conakry’s Madina market on Monday morning - the first business day after deadly clashes between supporters of the government and backers of the opposition.  Most shops remained closed, their owners sitting by, preferring to wait and monitor the situation.
 
Police and gendarmes in riot gear were posted throughout the area.  In the areas where clashes took place in recent days, there are charred remains of tires and a car in the Hamdallaye neighborhood, shattered car windshields in one main marketplace, broken shop doors in another.
 
Twenty-six-year-old Mouctar Sow sells mobile phones in Madina market.  He talked with VOA on Monday morning as he and fellow traders were standing by to see whether it was safe to open up shop.  The vendors, mostly of the Peul ethnic group, said youths supporting President Alpha Condé - who’s Malinké - attacked Peul shop owners Friday and Saturday.
 
He says, we’re waiting to see if they’ll come back.  And if they do, he says, we’ll fight back.  We, the Peul, we’re not going anywhere.  
 
The clashes followed an opposition rally on Thursday, which was authorized by the government.  The opposition is calling for transparent legislative elections, two years after President Condé was elected.  The march was mostly peaceful, but in one area of Conakry with a concentration of Condé supporters, there were clashes.  Each side blames the other.
 
Accounts of the days’ events are full of references to ‘us’ and ‘them.'  Political rivalry automatically means deep antagonism and that’s a big part of the problem, says Abdoulaye Fadiga, who sells fabric near Madina market.  He’s also head of a local group called National Association for Peace.  He says Guineans have a lot to learn about multi-party democracy.
 
He’d opened his shop on Monday morning.  But the steel doors were only halfway opened - easier to lock up again in case of trouble.
 
He says Guineans have a long way to go in learning civic-mindedness.  He says he witnessed much of the unrest and there was provocation from both sides.  Many opposition militants take advantage of what are supposed to be peaceful marches to start trouble.  On the other hand, Fadiga says, Condé supporters see a successful opposition rally as a win for the other side so they resist.

He says he’s particularly disturbed by the ethnic dimension events have taken lately.  He says this group denounces Peul, that side denounces Malinké - this is unacceptable and deplorable, because we have no choice but to live together.

Bountouraby Camara sells clothes in Madina market and is the family’s sole breadwinner.  She came to tears as she talked about the impact of the instability.
 
She says she’s not sold a thing for three days.  This morning she had no money to leave at home for her children to buy breakfast.  She called on Guineans to stop the violence.

Many Conakry youth said they want to see government and opposition leaders working to unify the people, focusing on the country’s good and not political power.
 
President Alpha Condé, in an address to the nation last Friday, condemned the violence and destruction and appealed for calm on all sides.  He said without peace, development and investment are impossible.

This resident of Conakry, who did not want to give his name, said the recurrent instability keeps Guinea stuck.
 
While other countries make progress, the little bit we have here in Guinea, we destroy it, he says.  And for what?  Politicians.  Politicians sow trouble and this is where it leads us.  Fifty-four years of independence - no electricity, no running water, no roads, nothing, he says.  All for politics and a fight for power.

You May Like

Multimedia Obama, Modi Break Nuclear Deal Deadlock

Impasse over liability issues had been stalling bilateral civilian nuclear cooperation; deal reached at start of US president's three-day visit to India More

WHO's Late Efforts in Tackling Ebola Highlight Need for Reform

Health experts debate measures to reform agency’s response to global public health emergencies in special one-day session on deadly outbreak More

One Tumultuous Year in Power for CAR's President

As sectarian violence raged across Central African Republic, interim President Catherine Samba-Panza has Herculean task: to end civil war and put country back on right track More

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Worldwide Photo Workshops Empower Youthi
X
Julie Taboh
January 23, 2015 11:08 PM
Last September, 20 young adults from South Sudan took part in a National Geographic Photo Camp. They are among hundreds of students from around the world who have learned how to use a camera to tell the stories of the people in their communities through the powerful medium of photography. Three camp participants talked about their experiences recently on a visit to Washington. VOA’s Julie Taboh reports.
Video

Video Worldwide Photo Workshops Empower Youth

Last September, 20 young adults from South Sudan took part in a National Geographic Photo Camp. They are among hundreds of students from around the world who have learned how to use a camera to tell the stories of the people in their communities through the powerful medium of photography. Three camp participants talked about their experiences recently on a visit to Washington. VOA’s Julie Taboh reports.
Video

Video US, Japan Offer Lessons as Eurozone Launches Huge Stimulus

The Euro currency has fallen sharply after the European Central Bank announced a bigger-than-expected $67 billion-a-month quantitative easing program Thursday - commonly seen as a form of printing new money. Henry Ridgwell reports for VOA from London on whether the move might rescue the eurozone economy -- and what lessons have been learned from similar programs around the world.
Video

Video Nigerian Elections Pose Concern of Potential Conflict in 'Middle Belt'

Nigeria’s north-central state of Kaduna has long been the site of fighting between Muslims and Christians as well as between people of different ethnic groups. As the February elections approach, community and religious leaders are making plans they hope will keep the streets calm after results are announced. Chris Stein reports from the state capital, Kaduna.
Video

Video As Viewership Drops, Obama Puts His Message on YouTube

Ratings reports show President Obama’s State of the Union address this week drew the lowest number of viewers for this annual speech in 15 years. White House officials anticipated this, and the president has decided to take a non-traditional approach to getting his message out. VOA White House correspondent Luis Ramirez reports.
Video

Video S. Korean Businesses Want to End Trade Restrictions With North

Business leaders in South Korea are calling for President Park Geun-hye to ease trade restrictions with North Korea that were put in place in 2010 after the sinking of a South Korean warship.Pro-business groups argue that expanding trade and investment is not only good for business, it is also good for long-term regional peace and security. VOA’s Brian Padden reports.
Video

Video US Marching Bands Grow Into a Show of Their Own

The 2014 Super Bowl halftime show was the most-watched in history - attracting an estimated 115 million viewers. That event featured pop star Bruno Mars. But the halftime show tradition started with marching bands, which still dominate the entertainment at U.S. high school and college American football games. But as Enming Liu reports in this story narrated by Adrianna Zhang, marching bands have grown into a show of their own.
Video

Video Secular, Religious Kurds Face Off in Southeast Turkey

Turkey’s predominantly Kurdish southeast has been rocked by violence between religious and secular Kurds. Dorian Jones reports on the reasons behind the stand-off from the region's main city of Diyarbakir, which suffered the bloodiest fighting.
Video

Video Kenya: Misuse of Antibiotics Leading to Resistance by Immune System

In Kenya, the rise of drug resistant bacteria could reverse the gains made by medical science over diseases that were once treatable. Kenyans could be at risk of fatalities as a result if the power in antibiotics is not preserved. Lenny Ruvaga has more on the story from Nairobi.
Video

Video Solar-Powered Plane Getting Ready to Circumnavigate Globe

Pilots of the solar plane that already set records flying without a drop of fuel are close to making their first attempt to fly the craft around the globe. They plan to do it in 25 flying days over a five month period. VOA’s George Putic reports.
Video

Video How Experts Decide Ethiopia Has the Best Coffee

Ethiopia’s coffee has been ranked as the best in the world by an international group of coffee connoisseurs. Not surprisingly, coffee is a top export for the country. But at home it is a source of pride. Marthe van der Wolf in Addis Ababa decided to find out what makes the bean and brew so special and how experts make their determinations.
Video

Video Yazidi Refugees at Center of Political Fight Between Turkey, Kurds

The treatment of thousands of Yazidis refugees who fled to Turkey to escape attacks by Islamic State militants has become the center of a dispute between the Turkish government and the country's pro-Kurdish movement. VOA's Dorian Jones reports.
Video

Video World’s Richest 1% Forecast to Own More Than Half of Global Wealth

The combined wealth of the world's richest 1 percent will overtake that of the remaining 99 percent at some point in 2016, according to the anti-poverty charity Oxfam. Campaigners are demanding that policymakers take action to address the widening gap between the ‘haves’ and the ‘have nots’, as Henry Ridgwell reports for VOA from London.

Circumventing Censorship

An Internet Primer for Healthy Web Habits

As surveillance and censoring technologies advance, so, too, do new tools for your computer or mobile device that help protect your privacy and break through Internet censorship.
More

All About America

AppleAndroid