Guinea: Another Bloody and Violent September 28

[All links in French unless otherwise stated]

Another September 28 and yet again another day of violence against the unarmed civilian population of Conakry. This date [en] is feared by all Guineans whether they live in their country or elsewhere.

This year the factions of the opposition, combined within the Collective of the Political Parties for the Finalisation of the Transition, called its activists to a peaceful demonstration on 27 September to denounce the government's unilateral acts.  But suppression was once again fierce.

September 28 anniversary in Guinea via Guinée50 Facebook page  (with their permission)  

September 28 anniversary in Guinea via Guinée58 Facebook page (with their permission)

Reports of violence

The blog, released a statement from the Collective denouncing the violence which was aiming to:

… create a climate of terror in the neighbourhoods of Hamdallye, Bambeto, Cosa and Wanindara.  According to this statement, the forces of order in league with private militia, called “donzo” (traditional hunters), are beating, injuring and arresting some residents of these areas.

The demonstrations which began on 27 September continued until 29 September. The blog released an audio and written statement from Amnesty International, saying:

One protestor told Amnesty International he had witnessed police killing another demonstrator: “The security forces chased us and began beating some of us with their truncheons. We ran away and one of us fell down. A member of the security forces leant over him and stabbed him to death.”

Another eyewitness who spoke to Amnesty International reported that security forces had entered private compounds and looted some of the houses.

According to the site, the prosecutor, Mohamed Said Haidara, made a statement on the state media, with this assessment:

Following these events, the security services took 178 suspects including 7 minors and 4 women to the police station for questioning, and 144 suspects including 4 women, according to the police station. In total, that's 322 suspects.

In a statement issued on, the government rejects the comments by Amnesty International and advises that:

all the minors of 13 years of age who were arrested have been freed and those between 15 and 17 years have also been freed.

A comment from on the announcement by the government about the beginning of dialogue:

Although it is particularly regrettable that the government and the opposition accepted this solution through dialogue only after Guineans had been killed and/or wounded and only after extensive material damage had occurred, we must nevertheless hope this new round is nothing but an attempt to impress.

Demonstrations took place in several cities around the world to denounce the violence and expose the fact that those responsible for the events of 28 September, 2009, have not been brought to justice (read a soldier's testimony here [en]).  According to a statement from the NGO Human Rights Watch, two years after these events not one of the accused has been judged:

No one has yet been called to account two years after Guinean security forces shot and killed unarmed demonstrators during an opposition rally in the capital, Conakry, Human Rights Watch said today.  According to Human Rights Watch, the Guinean government must do more to make sure that justice is done for the victims of the massacre of 28 September 2009.

Human Rights Watch has also expressed its concern that some positions of responsibility have been maintained by key figures denounced for the violence of 28 September, 2009, like Lt. Colonel Claude Pivi, minister in charge of presidential security, and Lt. Colonel Moussa Tiégboro Camara, director of the national agency in charge of the fight against drugs, organised crime and terrorism.

International protests

In New York, in front of the Guinean embassy and the headquarters of the United Nations in Manhattan, protestors were supported by eminent American personalities including the former New York Mayor, Mr David Dinkins, and the Senator for the state of New York, Mr Eric Adams, as well as international human rights organisations.

In The Hague, other members of the Guinean diaspora organised a demonstration in front of the seat of the International Criminal Court.

In Boston, there was a conference organised with the participation of Mr Bah Oury on the occasion of the Guinean independence celebrations of 2 October, 2011.

In Paris, the demonstration took place on 1 October, for which purpose the organisers issued a message on the blog

Ethnic and communitarian tensions stirred up by Alpha Condé and his party, the Rassemblement du Peuple de Guinée (RPG), are leading to hatred and abhorrence of the other  …  Journalists are intimidated, threatened, and the State media are put into the service of the government.

This denunciation of the President as a factor in the social divisions is confirmed by a publication on the site of the International Crisis Group:

The recent experience of violent politicization of ethnicities and the lack of confidence of political players in the electoral process are a cause for concern. President Condé has unilaterally encouraged an overhaul of the electoral system, but he is arousing all the more suspicion because of the uncertain prospects of the presidential party for the legislative elections. He has given little attention, very late, to reconciliation and dialogue with his highly mobilised opposition.

The suppression had several effects. The first and most serious for the future of the country is the widening of the social divide on an ethnic basis, as shown by an exchange of violent remarks on the Internet and the distribution of tracts in Conakry, according to the blog

tracts originating in certain movements of support for the government are circulating in the neighbourhoods of Conakry.  These youth movements which support the government are calling their members to come out and attack demonstrators … Guinea's enemies will be fought somehow and thrown on the new Democracy train…

The second is the reorganisation at the political level with the announcement of the beginnings of dialogue between the government and the opposition.

Finally, a third consequence is that the group of six parties of the Alliance for Democracy and Progress (ADP), which formed part of the presidential camp in the second round of presidential elections and the Collective of the Political Parties for the Finalisation of the Transition, have decided “to combine their strengths and act jointly in the fight for free and transparent elections”. Thus, four former prime ministers are among the candidates.

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