Opposition leader rules out talks until massacre perpetrators are arrested

From a Paris hospital bed, wounded Guinean opposition leader Cellou Dalein Diallo told FRANCE 24 he knew the military official responsible for last week's massacre and that talks were not possible until those responsible were brought to justice.


One of Guinea's main opposition leaders, former Guinean Prime Minister Cellou Dalein Diallo, said there would be no talks with the military junta of the Western African nation until the military officials responsible for last week's massacre at a football stadium were arrested.


In an interview with FRANCE 24 from a hospital bed in Paris, where he was receiving treatment for injuries sustained during last week’s crackdown at the football stadium, Diallo said the perpetrators of the Sept. 28 massacre were well-known.

A severely wounded Diallo accused Toumba Diakite, the aide-de-camp of Guinea’s junta leader Captain Moussa Dadis Camara, of being responsible for the Sept. 28 crackdown.


"Everyone knows that it was Toumba Diakite who led the intervention by the security forces in the stadium," said Diallo, referring to junta chief Camara’s aide-de-camp.


Diallo however said he was not sure if Camara himself gave the order to fire on the demonstrators. But, he added, the military chiefs responsible for ordering the shooting should be brought to justice.


The crackdown occurred after Guinean opposition leaders and supporters gathered at the main football stadium in the Guinean capital of Conakry to protest against the prospect of Camara contesting the Jan. 31, 2010 presidential election.


Guinean human rights groups say 157 people were killed and about 1,200 others were wounded at the stadium. The junta however puts the death toll at 56.


Preconditions for talks


The crisis in Guinea has triggered a round of mediation talks led by Burkina Faso President Blaise Campaore. During a news conference in the Guinean capital of Conakry Monday, Campaore invited Guinea's junta and opposition leaders to “come to the table, state your problems and talk about them”.


But Diallo said a precondition for talks with the junta was the arrest of those responsible for last month’s massacre.


"Mediation needs to begin, but there are a certain number of preconditions, and in particular, the assassins of September 28 need to be arrested," said Diallo in a phone interview with the AFP. "The main mission of the junta, when there's a bloodbath like that, is to put the assassins behind bars," he added.


‘At first, I thought it was rubber bullets’


An economist who served as Guinea’s prime minister in 2004 before he was dismissed, Diallo was present at the opposition rally, when soldiers fired into the crowd.


“The presidential guard arrived and they started shooting at the crowd,” Diallo told FRANCE 24. “At first I thought it was rubber bullets. I saw them shooting at young people. When the youth fled, all that was left was the bodies of those who had been killed. They then came to get us, the (opposition) leaders who were in the stands. They hit us. They hit me on the head. They broke my ribs. They really didn’t treat me well,” he said.



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