See also:
» 18.06.2008 - 2 killed in Guinea’s army and police clash
» 26.02.2007 - Guinea unions call off strike
» 19.02.2007 - Guinea opposition resists negotiation
» 14.02.2007 - Guinea lifts curfew but violence persists
» 13.02.2007 - Martial law in Guinea causes more protests
» 12.02.2007 - Guinea still in flames
» 29.01.2007 - As strike ends, Guineans hope for reform
» 25.01.2007 - No end to strike in Guinea

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Labour | Politics | Human rights

Guineans heed stay-away call

afrol News, 12 October - Guinea's citizens have heeded the calls by trade unions to stay at home in protest to the killings which claimed more than 150 lives at the end of last months.

Reports from Conakry said the streets were empty today with very little traffic following the calls by the union federation to observe two days of mourning and prayer for the victims of the 28 September Massacre.

More than 150 people were killed and over a thousand others injured when soldiers opened fire at protesters at the main stadium in the city on 28 September. However, the government has maintain the number of those killed was just over 50, and promised to probe the incidence. Reports of rape have also been alleged during the crack-down on protestors, alleged by the presidential guard members.

Tensions have been mounting in Guinea since rumours came up that the military junta leader, Captain Moussa Camara was to stand for the presidential elections.

Despite the promises by government to ensure that the matter will be investigated to the core, both international and local human rights bodies have declared their doubts on the safety of possible witnesses in the government probe.

A top UN human rights official voiced concern on Friday over the risks to Guineans if the world body launches an investigation into the killings.

UN High Commissioner for Human Rights, Navi Pillay was reportedly considering how to assist with an investigation, and make sure that it is credible, in view of the security and political situation on the ground, according to her spokesperson Rupert Colville.

He told reporters in Geneva that Ms Pillay was concerned about the harm that Guineans may suffer without the necessary security guarantees for witnesses and those who provide information about the violent suppression of the 28 September demonstration in the capital, Conakry, which she has characterised as a “blood bath.”

The timing and format of an investigation mandated from the Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights (OHCHR) would largely depend on the cooperation of the Guinean authorities, which have announced their own Commission of Inquiry, he added.

The UN agency was reportedly in the process of gathering information from various sources on the incidents, including the looting of homes of opposition leaders who had been arbitrarily arrested, and considering various models for a possible probe.

Army Captain Moussa Dadis Camara seized power of the West African nation in a coup in December 2008 after the death of Guinea’s long-time president Lansana Conté.

He has been asked by the West African bloc, the African Union and other international bodies to declare and commit he would not stand for elections and that the military junta would deliver a free and fair election for the Guineans.

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