21 Oct 2022, 20:44

Three died in Guinea anti-junta protests

CONAKRY, Oct 21, 2022 (BSS/AFP) - Guinea's top prosecutor is calling for a crackdown on the organisers and participants of anti-junta protests while the opposition and justice minister said Friday three civilians were killed in the unrest.

Young protesters clashed on Thursday with security forces in the capital Conakry in demonstrations called by an outlawed group against the country's ruling junta.

Conakry's Prosecutor General Yamoussa Conte said six security forces personnel were wounded, five of whom were in serious condition, adding that two civilians were injured.

He called for action "against the organisers and all the participants of the said banned demonstration," according to a statement read on state television.

He named seven opposition leaders who allegedly called for the demonstration or supported it.

The National Front for the Defence of the Constitution (FNDC) had called for the protest to demand a quick return to a civilian led government and the release of all prisoners detained for political reasons.

In a statement released overnight Thursday to Friday, the FNDC called the ruling junta "dictatorial."

The group identified the three people killed as Thierno Bella Diallo, Boubacar Diallo and Thierno Moussa Barry. It said 20 people suffered gunshot wounds while many others were arrested.

Justice Minister Alphonse Charles Wright confirmed their deaths in a statement on Friday, but said the causes "remain to be clarified by autopsy".

He ordered prosecutions, without commenting on the alleged perpetrators.
Wright also stressed the authorities' determination to combat impunity.
- 'More severe sanctions' -

Rights activists regularly accuse Guinean police and gendarmes of using excessive force, and the authorities of turning a blind eye in a country with a history of political violence.

The justice minister ordered the identification "without delay" of a member of the security forces whose image has gone viral on social networks. A video shows him firing a pistol at a target who is not visible in the footage.

The poor but mineral-rich West African state has been under military government since a September 2021 coup that ousted president Alpha Conde after more than 10 years in power.

An alliance of political parties, trade unions and civil groups, the FNDC spearheaded protests against Conde before his ouster.

It was officially dissolved in August by the junta-appointed government.
The coalition had called for peaceful demonstrations to take place in Conakry on Thursday, followed by nationwide protests on October 26.

West African leaders suspended Guinea from the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS), and imposed sanctions last month on a number of individuals.

It gave the ruling junta one month to present a "reasonable and acceptable" timetable for the return of civilian rule, an ultimatum that theoretically expires this weekend.

If they fail to do so, ECOWAS has warned that it will adopt "more severe sanctions".