CONAKRY (Reuters) – Guinean security forces killed at least 58 people when they fired live rounds yesterday to disperse thousands of protesters who wanted to hold a rally in a sports stadium, a rights body said.
Witnesses said several prominent opposition leaders were arrested and protesters were injured in violence that began when thousands of people took to the streets and met in the stadium despite a massive security operation by authorities.
The violence in the world’s top bauxite exporting country, the worst since military ruler Captain Moussa Dadis Camara seized power in a 2008 coup, followed months of wrangling between Camara and his rivals.
UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon and former colonial power France condemned the violence.
Camara has not ruled out standing in elections, angering opponents and foreign donors alike.
“At one hospital alone, we have counted 58 bodies,” Thierno Maadjou Sow, president of the Guinean Human Rights Organisation, told Reuters. “It seems there are many more corpses in (the other hospital).”
A witness who went to the local Red Cross in Conakry said he had counted at least 20 people with bullet wounds. Other witnesses said a police station was set on fire and several police vehicles, equipment and at least one officer were seized.
The junta, known as the National Council for Democracy and Development (CNDD), said it would not negotiate with forces challenging it.