Guinean troops shot and killed at least 157 people, wounded more than 1,000, and raped women after breaking up an opposition rally, opposition sources said. France has announced it will suspend military ties with the former colony.
AFP - Guinea junta troops shot and killed at least 157 people, wounded more than 1,000, and raped women when they broke up a huge rally in a stadium, opposition leaders said Tuesday amid deadly new unrest.
Gunfire rang out across the capital Conakry and a youth was killed, witnesses said. Troops were again attacking people and raping women in their homes, rights groups said.
The United Nations, African Union and European Union all expressed alarm over the killings when tens of thousands of people Monday attended a rally against junta leader Moussa Dadis Camara, who took power in December 2008.
But much of Conakry remained closed Tuesday, with inhabitants stunned by the clampdown in the city's September 28 stadium.
The Guinean Human Rights Organisation said that 157 dead were taken to two Conakry hospitals after the shootings in the stadium. The opposition has accused junta forces of collecting bodies in a bid to hide "the scale of the massacre".
"Up until now we have counted 157 dead and 1,253 wounded. Our people have been all around Conakry and in hospitals but they haven't been able to see everything," rights group head Thierno Maadjou Sow said.
Sydia Toure, one of two former prime ministers injured at the protest, told AFP that the shootings were "a deliberate attempt" to eliminate the opposition.
Mamadi Kaba, head of the Guinean branch of the African Encounter for the Defence of Human Rights (RADDHO), said the rapes of women began in the stadium.
"The military raped women" at the stadium and later at army barracks, police posts and other parts of Conakry, Kaba said, adding that there were reports of new rape attacks by soldiers on Tuesday.
Opposition activist Mouctar Diallo said he saw soldiers putting their rifles into the vaginas of naked women. "I saw this myself," he told French radio station RFI.
"They were raping women publicly," Diallo added. "Soldiers were shooting everywhere and I saw people fall. They were live bullets."
A Red Cross source said military commanders ordered all bodies at the stadium to be taken to the Alpha Yaya Diallo military camp, the junta headquarters, rather than to morgues.
A source at Conakry's Ignace Deen hospital told AFP an army truck took away "dozens of bodies" after the violent clampdown on the banned demonstration.
"The bad behaviour continues in the suburbs, carried out by the military. Even if there's nobody on the street, they shoot in the air, loot shops and beat people up," Kaba said.
UN chief Ban Ki-moon slammed the "excessive use of force" and said he was "shocked by the loss of life, the high number of people injured and the destruction of property."
The African Union said in a statement that it "strongly condemns the indiscriminate firing on unarmed civilians, which left dozens dead and many others injured, while serious other violations of human rights were committed."
In Brussels, EU foreign policy chief Javier Solana also deplored the "high number of victims" and called for the immediate release of the arrested opposition leaders.
Former colonial ruler France condemned "the violent repression," suspended military cooperation with Guinea and urged caution on expatriates, while a senior US official in Washington said: "We're deeply concerned about the general breakdown in security in Conakry."
The protesters had gathered in the stadium to oppose any bid by the junta leader to run for president in an election due in January. Camara also faces strong international pressure to step down.
Camara took over the west African nation after leading a bloodless coup within hours of the death of Guinea's strongman leader Lansana Conte, who had ruled the west African country since 1984.
"It's unfortunate, it's dramatic," Captain Camara told RFI of the violence. "Very frankly speaking, I'm very sorry, very sorry."
Date created : 2009-09-29