DAKAR - Human rights activists welcomed the indictment of two generals in Guinea for the massacre of protesters six years ago. But some question whether the indictments are aimed at a former military ruler who is planning to run in the upcoming elections.
A court in Guinea last week indicted Mamadouba Toto Camara and Mathurin Bangoura, two generals accused of participating in a bloody 2009 crackdown on protesters demonstrating against military rule in a stadium in the capital, Conakry.
More than 150 people were killed and dozens of women sexually assaulted in the violence. The massacre was widely condemned, and shortly thereafter the then-military ruler, Moussa Dadis Camara, was shot by an aide and had to leave the country. But Camara is planning a comeback to run against incumbent President Alpha Conde in elections set for October.
Human rights activists welcomed the indictments, but some, like law student Idriss Abangoura, questioned their timing.
Abangoura says he wants to know why the indictments were handed down just one month after Camara announced he would return to Guinea.
Camara is not indicted. But attorney Tierno Amadou Oury Diallo says it is possible testimony in the case of these generals could open up new details about the stadium massacre, and Camara’s culpability in it.
Diallo says it is up to the judge to question the attorneys and a certain number of witnesses to know if it is possible to indict Camara as he has done with the two generals.
Protests have broken out against the government’s preparations for the October polls. The opposition claims local bureaucracies are overwhelmingly loyal to President Conde, but the government has gone back on a promise to hold local elections before the presidential polls.
At least six people have died in demonstrations held during the past months. Earlier this month, the government and opposition leaders agreed to talks aimed at preventing further violence.