Revenge killings sweep Guinea after protest crackdown

At least a dozen people have been murdered in Guinea over the past month in what police suspect is a flare-up in revenge attacks for last month’s bloody government crackdown on protesters.

The attacks come amid increasing international condemnation of Captain Moussa Dadis Camara’s ruling military junta after gunmen opened fire on unarmed demonstrators in a stadium on September 28.

“We have counted 12 assassinations since September 28. This does not include the killing of a top official in the Youth Ministry, who is reputed to have been close to the head of state,” a police source told Reuters on Friday.

More than 150 people who had gathered to demand Camara opt out of upcoming elections set for January were killed in the incident and more than a thousand others were injured, according to a local human rights group.

Police said the majority of the killings since the September 28 crackdown have been committed by bandits, but added the rest appeared to be revenge killings.

One police source said investigators suspect “death squads” are deliberately spreading fear in the country, the world’s top bauxite supplier. “Both the opposition and the ruling powers are affected,” he said.

In the highest profile murder, an armed gang assassinated a top official in the junta’s Youth Ministry, Amadou Sadio Diallo, reputed to be a strong supporter of Camara’s presidential candidacy.

Guinea, whose mineral riches have drawn large investments from international companies like Rio Tinto, Alcoa and Rusal, has become increasingly isolated from the international community since Camara took power in a coup last December.

West Africa regional bloc Ecowas on Saturday imposed an arms embargo against Guinea, accusing the ruling military junta of “mass human rights violations”.

The United States, France and the European Union have called on Camara, who seized power in a coup last December, to resign and the International Criminal Court said last week it was investigating the September 28 killings.—Reuters

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