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 Social Media Documenting, Not Driving, Hong Kong Protests

Unlike Arab Spring uprisings, pro-democracy protestors in Hong Kong aren't relying on Twitter and Facebook to organize, but social media still plays a role More

Analysis: Occupy Central Not Exactly Hong Kong’s Tiananmen

VOA's former Hong Kong, Beijing correspondent compares and contrasts 1989 Tiananmen Square protest with what is now happening in Hong Kong More

Bambari Hospital a Lone Place of Help in Violence-Plagued CAR

Only establishment still functioning in CAR's second city is main hospital More

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
The Legacy of Jimmy Carter: The Preacher from Plainsi
X
October 01, 2014 10:45 AM
It is common in the United States to see tourists flock to sites associated with America's presidents. Some are privately owned and others are run by the National Park Service or the National Archives -- but most have helped draw business and people into the towns and cities where they are located. As VOA’s Kane Farabaugh reports, there is one particular presidential hometown that is unique in what it has to offer those who make the trip.
Video

Video The Legacy of Jimmy Carter: The Preacher from Plains

It is common in the United States to see tourists flock to sites associated with America's presidents. Some are privately owned and others are run by the National Park Service or the National Archives -- but most have helped draw business and people into the towns and cities where they are located. As VOA’s Kane Farabaugh reports, there is one particular presidential hometown that is unique in what it has to offer those who make the trip.
Video

Video Hong Kong Protests Draw New Supporters on National Holiday

On the 65th anniversary of the founding of Communist China, Hong Kong protesters are hoping to stage the largest pro-democracy demonstration since the 1989 Tiananmen protests. VOA's Brian Padden visited one of the protest sites mid-day, when the atmosphere was calm and where the supporters were enthusiastic about joining what they are calling the umbrella revolution.
Video

Video India's PM Continues First US Visit

India's prime minister is on his first visit to Washington, to strengthen political and economic ties between the world's oldest and the world biggest democracies. He came to the U.S. capital from New York, the first stop on his five-day visit to the country that denied him an entry visa in the past. From Washington, Zlatica Hoke reports Modi seemed most focused on attracting foreign investment and trade to increase job opportunities for his people.
Video

Video Malaysia Struggles to Stop People Joining Jihad

Malaysian authorities say militant groups like the so-called "Islamic State" have used social media to entice at least three dozen Malaysian Muslims to fight in what they call "jihad" in Syria and Iraq. As Mahi Ramkrishnan reports from Kuala Lumpur, counterterrorism police are deeply worried about what could happen when these militants return home.
Video

Video Could US Have Done More to Stop Rise of Islamic State?

President Obama says airstrikes against Islamic State militants in Syria will likely continue for some time because, in his words, "there is a cancer that has grown for too long." So what if President Obama had acted sooner in Syria to arm more-moderate opponents of both the Islamic State and the Syrian government? VOA State Department Correspondent Scott Stearns reports from the United Nations.
Video

Video Treasure Hunters Seek 'Hidden Treasure' in Central Kenya

Could a cave in a small village in central Kenya be the site of buried treasure? A rumor of riches, left behind by colonialists, has some residents dreaming of wealth, while others see it as a dangerous hoax. VOA's Gabe Joselow has the story.
Video

Video Ebola Patients Find No Treatment at Sierra Leone Holding Center

At a holding facility in Makeni, central Sierra Leone, dozens of sick people sit on the floor in an empty university building. They wait in filthy conditions. It's a 16-hour drive by ambulance to Kailahun Ebola treatment center. Adam Bailes was there and reports on what he says are some of the worst situations he has seen since the beginning of this Ebola outbreak. And he says it appears case numbers may already be far worse than authorities acknowledge.
Video

Video Identifying Bodies Found in Texas Border Region

Thousands of immigrants have died after crossing the border from Mexico into remote areas of the southwestern United States in recent years. Local officials in south Texas alone have found hundreds of unidentified bodies and buried them in mass graves in local cemeteries. Now an anthropologist and her students at Baylor University have been exhuming bodies and looking for clues to identify them. VOA’s Greg Flakus has more from Waco, Texas.
Colonel Steve ‘Spiros’ Pisanos left Greece and came to the U.S. to learn to fly. He flew fighters for the Allies in World War II, narrowly escaping death multiple times.Colonel Steve ‘Spiros’ Pisanos left Greece and came to the U.S. to learn to fly. He flew fighters for the Allies in World War II, narrowly escaping death multiple times.

AppleAndroid