“Stop Getting in the Way of Our Bullets!”

Serendipity is once again at work here on this site, meaning that you get yet another piece from Belgium’s Het Nieuwsblad. It was the title that caught my eye this time: President of Guinea accuses opposition of bloodbath. That would be the incident from last Monday when soldiers from the presidential guard opened fire on people at the national stadium in the country’s capital, Conakry, who were demonstrating against President Moussa “Dadis” Camara’s intention to take part in the upcoming presidential election. Camara became president in the first place by simply seizing power from his base in the army last December after the previous dictator, Lansana Conté, had died.

An otherwise-unnamed human rights organization based in Guinea estimates that about 160 people were killed at the stadium and more than 1,200 wounded, and other nasty things occurred as well, particularly against women, that I will forbear from detailing here. The government, on the other hand, maintains that only 57 people died, most of them trampled in the stampeding crowd. From President Camara: “It was the opposition politicians who led other people’s children to their deaths, while their own children sat comfortably elsewhere.” Anything untoward that might have happened, he declared, was due to “uncontrollable elements in the army,” which he can’t be expected to take responsibility for. You’ll be glad to know, though, that his government does intend to financially compensate the victims’ families.

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