Rights groups warn again on Guinea’s political violence
International human rights organization Amnesty International has issued another warning over the political violence in the West African nation of Guinea, which claimed another life on Tuesday.
Opposition groups reported the shooting death of a 30 year-old man believed to be the victim of security forces in the capital of Conakry. Two similar deaths occurred in recent weeks during protests that have continued since election results in February that the opposition rejects as illegitimate.
The February 4 local elections, which were the first since 2005, were postponed multiple times since 2010 as the government and opposition failed to reach an agreement on how to organize them.
At least 18 people have died in political violence this year, with increasing pressure on Cellou Dalein Diallo, head of the Union of Democratic Forces of Guinea (UFDG) and a former prime minister who opposes President Alpha Condé. He has been prevented from leaving his home during numerous protests in Guinea, and was in a vehicle attacked last week while leaving an organized protest.
“Videos verified by Amnesty International show the security forces shooting a large amount of teargas canisters at vehicles cramped with opposition activists while they were trying to leave the demonstration site,” the organization said. It also showed evidence of what it says are Guinea’s elite forces, with a tragic history of human rights violations, active in quelling demonstrations this month.
François Patuel, an Amnesty researcher for West Africa, warns that more rallies are planned and the government must avoid excessive force in responding to them.
Guinean officials promised to reduce tensions and ensure justice in March, but that hasn’t been the case in a country where political divisions often fall along ethnic lines.
“Three months after Guinea’s latest round of bloody election violence the authorities have taken no concrete steps to investigate and sanction those responsible,” said Corinne Dufka, West Africa director at Human Rights Watch, in July. “The only way to break Guinea’s cycle of political violence and to provide justice for the victims is to conduct credible investigations and hold those implicated accountable.”
Image: Amnesty WARO