Guinea leader urges national unity

Military rulers urge opposition to join government after bloody crackodwn on rally.

    More than 150 people were killed in a crackdown on opposition protesters, a rights group says [AFP]

    The opposition leaders, many of whom say they were detained during the demonstration on Monday, did not immediately respond to the overtures to join the government.

    The government has said that only 57 people were killed outside the stadium where the rally was taking place and most them were trampled to death, not killed by members of Camara's presidential guard.

    Opposition blamed

    Camara called for two days of mourning to begin on Wednesday, but blamed the opposition for the deaths among the 50,000-strong crowd.

    "It was the opposition politicians who led other people's sons and daughters to their deaths while their own sons and daughters are comfortably living elsewhere," he said in an address braodacst on state televsion on Tuesday.

    "It was the opposition politicians who led other people's sons and daughters to their deaths while their own sons and daughters are comfortably living elsewhere"

    Moussa Dadis Camara,
    Guinea leader

    "I call on imams, political leaders, civil society groups and the mass media to refrain from doing or saying things that will further plunge this country into anarchy."

    Also on Wednesday, the UN high commissioner for human rights called for the incident to be investigated.

    "It is essential that such an inquiry is both independent and impartial so that all those responsible for carrying out summary executions, rapes and other human rights violations are brought to justice," Navi Pillay said.

    Monday's protest was called after Camara suggested that he could stand in January's presidential election, having previously said he would not run.

    Sidya Toure, a former prime minister, told The Associated Press news agency that there were no plans to hold another protest over the issue at this time.

    "Our priority is to bury our dead and to take care of our wounded," he said.

    "We are very far from making any demonstration plans. You know, Conakry is a very small town, people are traumatised." 

    Camara was heralded as an agent for change by some in Guinea when he led a bloodless coup last year, within hours of the death of Lansana Conte, who had ruled the west African country since 1984.

    But his heavy-handed tactics were criticised after he authorised raids on the homes of well-known members of the dead president's inner circle, which he said were intended to recoup money and property stolen from the state.

    SOURCE: Agencies


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