Tuesday, September 29, 2009

120+ massacred as Guinean insecurity forces attack protesters

This essay is part of an occasional feature on this blog that presents compelling stories from elsewhere in the world, particularly Africa, that are little reported in the American media. It's part of my campaign to get people to realize there is a lot going on in the world outside the US, IsraelStine and the Trumped Up Enemy of the Month. A list of all pieces in this series can be found found here..

(Reprinted with permission from Friends of Guinea blog)

Initial optimism about the new regime [in Guinea] has faded dramatically ever since junta leader Capt. Moussa Dadis Camara reneged on a promise to not participate in presidential elections scheduled for January 31.

A new political party, the Rally for the Defense of the Republic, was formed to back the military leader's candidacy. After Dadis, who unilaterally declared himself president following the death of Gen. Lansana Conté, broke his pledge not to run for the chief executive, the African Union imposed sanctions on Guinea.

Anti-Dadis has been rising ever since the coup leader's electoral ambitions became clear. He was met by huge protests when he visited Labé, the country's second largest city. And when the opposition tried to organize a rally against the regime, the junta banned it.

When the demonstration proceeded anyway, the "security" forces fired live ammunition at the crowd, reportedly killing dozens of demonstrators.

"It's butchery! There are dozens of dead," a Conakry doctor told the French news agency AFP.

Some media outlets reporting the death total as high as 87.

Another Conakry doctor told the IRIN news agency that there were 'hundreds' of injuries from bullets and beatings.

The massacre occurred on the 51st anniversary of the referendum in which Guineans voted for independence from France.

Update: Al-Jazeera reports that opposition leader and former prime minister Cellou Dalien Diallo and several other politicians were thrown in jail. A source indicated to me that Diallo was also shot during the protests. New reports suggest the death toll now exceeds 120.

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