GUINEA: ‘The barbarity we saw cannot be described’, a piece by IRIN
GUINEA: « The barbarity we saw cannot be described »
Billboard of Guinea’s junta leader Moussa Dadis Camara in the capital Conakry
DAKAR, 2 October 2009 (IRIN) – Guineans strain to find the words to describe the violence they saw on 28 September when soldiers opened fire on demonstrators, stabbing people with bayonets and gang-raping women and girls. Hundreds of Guineans have been unable to collect the remains of their loved ones, as soldiers blocked entry to morgues and – residents say – loaded up bodies in trucks and took them away.
Residents of the capital Conakry said tension was high on 2 October, as the junta held a ceremony to bury the bodies of the 57 people it says died, most « by asphyxiation » in a stampede. One man searching for his brother went to the morgue where the corpses were brought out; he said the stench from decomposing bodies was overwhelming.
Here is some of what Guineans told IRIN on 28 September and the days following:
« The barbarity we saw cannot be described. »
« We saw soldiers walking on cadavers. »
“They shoved their Kalashnikovs into women’s vaginas – I saw this.”
« I was completely destroyed by the brutality I saw. If I had a bomb that day I would have pulled a kamikaze. »
« The military is loading up bodies in trucks and hiding them. At the very least leave us the bodies of our loved ones. »
« People were afraid to seek treatment in hospital because some doctors refused to treat the injured, saying the demonstrators were to blame for the violence. »
« We fear civil war. There were militias who were out the next day going through neighbourhoods with machetes. »
« Soldiers are prowling the neighbourhood [Bambeto, on 29 September]. When they see a resident they say: « You move, we shoot’. They say: ‘It’s you, Peulhs, who want to get in our way. We are going to exterminate you all.' »
[Peulh is one of Guinea’s main ethnic groups; junta leader Camara is Guerze, a group from the Forest Region]
« Anyone who is not on their [the soldiers’] side, they are going to slaughter us all. »
« If the impunity continues, that is it for Guinea. Civil war. It will be worse than Liberia. »
« No one is safe. »
Theme(s): (IRIN) Conflict, (IRIN) Early Warning, (IRIN) Governance, (IRIN) Human Rights


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