Regional bloc imposes arms embargo after bloody crackdown

West Africa regional bloc ECOWAS has imposed an arms embargo against Guinea, accusing the ruling military junta of human rights violations during a bloody crackdown on opposition demonstrators last month.


REUTERS - West Africa regional bloc ECOWAS on Saturday imposed an arms embargo against Guinea, accusing the ruling military junta for "mass human rights violations" during anti-government protests last month.

International pressure has increased for Guinea's military leader Captain Moussa Dadis Camara to step down after gunmen used live rounds against protesters in a stadium on Sept. 28.

More than 150 people died and thousands more wounded in the incident, according to a local rights group.

"In view of the atrocities that have been committed ... the authority decides to impose an arms embargo on Guinea under the ECOWAS Convention on Small Arms and Light Weapons," said the communique of the Economic Community of West African States.

The regional group also threatened to impose full sanctions against Niger if President Mamadou Tandja does not take immediate steps to resolve the country's political crisis.

Tandja has faced widespread criticism for changing the uranium-rich nation's constitution in August to extend his term in office and give himself broader powers under a fully presidential government.

"The authority (of ECOWAS) ... called on the authorities in Niger to desist from further acts that may deepen divisions within the country and exacerbate the political atmosphere," the group said.

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