Guinea junta announces probe into deadly crackdown

Guinea’s ruling junta appointed an independent commission on Wednesday to investigate a crackdown on opposition protestors last month believed to have left more than 150 dead.

A Justice Ministry statement read on national television announced the creation of the commission as Guinea’s military leader, Captain Moussa Dadis Camara, comes under mounting international pressure.

The commission is to comprise 31 members, including four from political parties, three from unions and civic organisations, three from the junta and three from rights groups, according to the statement.

Other members will be lawyers, judges and university professors, it added.

United Nations officials and human rights groups say more than 150 people were killed on September 28 when Guinean troops opened fire on an unarmed crowd gathered in a stadium in the capital, Conakry, to protest against Camara’s rule.

The junta says 56 people died and has admitted that a dozen suffered gunshot wounds, but claims others were trampled in a stampede.

Camara, who seized power last year, insists he was not responsible for his troops’ actions, but the massacre, which witnesses say was coupled with the mass rape of women demonstrators, has triggered international outrage.

France, Guinea’s former colonial ruler, has cut military ties with the regime since the event.

French Foreign Minister Bernard Kouchner said France suspects Camara personally took part in the decision to order a crackdown. He previously said Paris “can no longer work with Dadis Camara”.

Burkina Faso President Blaise Compaore has stepped in as a regional mediator.

Guinea’s opposition has set tough terms for progress, which include the resignation of the junta, the arrest of those responsible for the violence and moves to appoint a new interim government of national unity.—Sapa-AFP

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