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Guinean killings were planned - HRW
afrol News, 27 October - The International human rights body has said the killing of more than 150 people by security forces in September at an opposition rally in Conakry was calculated.
Forces of the ruling military junta led by Captain Moussa Dadis Camara, surrounded and blockaded the stadium, then stormed in and fired at protesters and gang raping women on 28 September.
Human Rights Watch said Captain Camara and some of his closest military associates in the National Campaign for Democracy and Development (CNDD) junta should face criminal prosecution for the incident, characterised by rapes and brutal beatings.
“There is no way the government can continue to imply the deaths were somehow accidental. This was clearly a premeditated attempt to silence opposition voices,” said Georgette Gagnon, the Africa director at Human Rights Watch.
According to rights body, witness accounts and video evidence obtained by the organisation, showing the stadium crowd just before the shooting, shows a peaceful and celebratory atmosphere with opposition supporters singing, dancing, marching around the stadium with posters and the Guinean flag, and even praying.
It further said it has not seen any evidence that any opposition supporters were armed, and no security officials were wounded by opposition supporters at the stadium, suggesting that there was no legitimate threat posed by the opposition supporters that required the violence that followed.
Captain Camara’s crack down has drawn broad international condemnation with global organisations and donors threatening the country with sanctions.
Meanwhile, the European Union has imposed an arms embargo on Guinea and sanctions against its military leaders for serious atrocities allegedly perpetrated by the ruling junta last month.
The EU meeting of foreign ministers in Luxembourg which resumed yesterday, accused the Guinean authorities of gross violation of human rights when troops opened fire on protesters at the rally.
The West Africa's regional economic bloc, ECOWAS has already imposed an arms embargo on Guinea over the killings.
According to the EU statement, the sanctions are to target members of the CNDD and individuals associated with them, responsible for the violent crackdown or the political stalemate.
Capt Camara and the CNDD took power in a bloodless coup last December following the death of President Lansana Conte, who had ruled the country since 1984.
By staff writer
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