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

Taliban's New Leader Says Jihad Will Continue

Top US Afghan diplomat also meets with Pakistani, Afghan officials following news of Mullah Omar's death More

Video US Landmark Pushes Endangered Species

People gathered in streets, on rooftops in Manhattan to see image highlights that covered 33 floors of Empire State Building More

World’s Widest Suspension Bridge Being Built Over Bosphorus

Once built, Yavuz Sultan Selim Bridge will span 2 kilometers with about 1.5 kilometers over water, and will be longest suspension bridge in world carrying rail system More

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Astronauts Train Underwater for Deep Space Missionsi
|| 0:00:00
...    
🔇
X
George Putic
July 30, 2015 8:59 PM
Manned deep space missions are still a long way off, but space agencies are already testing procedures, equipment and human stamina for operations in extreme environment conditions. Small groups of astronauts take turns in spending days in an underwater lab, off Florida’s southern coast, simulating future missions to some remote world. VOA’s George Putic reports.
Video

Video Astronauts Train Underwater for Deep Space Missions

Manned deep space missions are still a long way off, but space agencies are already testing procedures, equipment and human stamina for operations in extreme environment conditions. Small groups of astronauts take turns in spending days in an underwater lab, off Florida’s southern coast, simulating future missions to some remote world. VOA’s George Putic reports.
Video

Video Civil Rights Leaders Struggled to Achieve Voting Rights Act

Fifty years ago, lawmakers approved, and U.S. President Lyndon Johnson signed, the Voting Rights Act of 1965. The measure outlawed racial discrimination in voting, giving millions of blacks in many parts of the southern United States federal enforcement of the right to vote. Correspondent Chris Simkins introduces us to some civil rights leaders who were on the front lines in the struggle for voting rights.
Video

Video Booming London Property a ‘Haven for Dirty Money’

Billions of dollars of so-called ‘dirty money’ from the proceeds of crime - especially from Russia - are being laundered through the London property market, according to anti-corruption activists. As Henry Ridgwell reports from the British capital, the government has pledged to crack down on the practice.
Video

Video Hometown of Boy Scouts of America Founder Reacts to Gay Leader Decision

Ottawa, Illinois, is the hometown of W.D. Boyce, who founded the Boy Scouts of America in 1910. In Ottawa, where Scouting remains an important part of the legacy of the community, the end of the organization's ban on openly gay adult leaders was seen as inevitable. VOA's Kane Farabaugh reports.
Video

Video 'Metal Muscles' Flex a New Bionic Hand

Artificial limbs, including the most complex of them – the human hand – are getting more life-like and useful due to constant advances in tiny hydraulic, pneumatic and electric motors called actuators. But now, as VOA’s George Putic reports, scientists in Germany say the future of the prosthetic hand may lie not in motors but in wires that can ‘remember’ their shape.
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 'Positive Atmosphere' Points Toward TPP Trade Deal in Hawaii

Talks on a major new trade agreement among 12 Pacific Rim nations are said to be nearing completion in Hawaii. Some trade experts say the "positive atmosphere" at the discussions could mean a deal is within reach, but there is still hard bargaining to be done over many issues and products, including U.S. drugs and Japanese rice. VOA's Jim Randle 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 '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 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.

VOA Blogs