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Guinea: Opposition Accuses Conte of Deploying Mercenaries

Guinean opposition leaders say they are likely to resume their strike action despite President Lansana Conte’s declaration of a state of emergency Monday. The opposition has also accused President Conte of brining in mercenaries from Liberia, Sierra Leone, and Guinea Bissau to kill innocent Guineans.

Ba Mamadou is leader of the Union of Democratic Forces of Guinea and spokesman for the coalition of opposition parties. He said President Conte has put the country under siege.

“He decided to put us under siege. They call that etat de siege. That means he gave the army the power to rule the country now. There are some conditions, that means we cannot go out during the day from six o’clock in the morning to four o’clock in the afternoon, and at night from eight o’clock to six o’clock in the morning,” he said.

Mamadou reiterated the opposition’s call for President Conte to step down because he said the President chose to usurp power while suppressing the rights of the Guinean people.

Mamadou rejected President Conte’s claims that he met the opposition and union leaders’ demands by appointing a new prime minister.

“That’s not true. We asked him to nominate a prime minister who can be a consensus between all of us. We were supposed to discuss with him and choose somebody who is not tied to him, somebody independent. But he decided to take his minister and put him as prime minister. That’s why we do not agree with him,” Mamadou said.

Mamadou said the demonstrations are likely to resume because the people want President Conte to step down. But he was not sure what would be the army’s reaction. He accused President Conte of using mercenaries.

“He brought some mercenaries to shoot the Guineans – mercenaries from Liberia, Sierra Leone rebels and Guinea Bissau. They are here in Conakry, and they are shooting all over the town. We know that they don’t speak French, and they speak Portuguese or English,” Mamadou said.

He said the opposition is not sure if the Guinean military is supporting President Conte.

“We are not sure of that yet because may be they are not supporting. We don’t know. If they are not supporting him, then they should take power. I don’t know. But some thing will happen, certainly,” Mamadou said.