Guinea Military Calls for Government of National Unity
By Scott Stearns
30 September 2009
Guinea's ruling military council is calling for a government of national unity following Monday's killing of more than 157 opposition demonstrators. The military has agreed to an international inquiry into that violence.
Ruling council official Mandjou Deoubate says Guinea's military leaders want a government of national unity integrating members of different political parties and tasked with the transition to elections.
In a broadcast on national television, he also called for an international inquiry into Monday's killing. Guinea's military wants an African leader appointed mediator of a national and international investigation involving the United Nations.
Guinea's Interior Ministry says 57 people died in Monday's violence at Conakry's main sports stadium during a demonstration against the expected candidacy of military ruler Captain Moussa Dadis Camara. The government says only four of those people were shot. The rest, it says, were trampled or died of asphyxiation.
Human rights groups in Guinea say at least 157 people were killed when members of the presidential guard shot into crowds to break-up the protest.
The final death toll may never be known as soldiers have already collected bodies themselves rather than allow them to be counted at public morgues.
Captain Camara is trying to shift responsibility for the violence on to his political opponents, saying some of the crowds at Monday's unauthorized protest looted weapons from a police station.
In an interview with VOA, Captain Camara said the authors of this massacre are political leaders who violated the law by holding an illegal demonstration. He says those protesters should have known that Guinea's armed forces contain uncontrollable elements.
Captain Camara warned that opposition leaders found responsible for the violence would be punished as he says some of his political opponents are paying young people to incite violence. The military has announced two days of national mourning and a ban on any gatherings which the military believes are of a subversive nature.
Captain Camara says Christian and Muslim leaders, politicians, journalists, and civil society groups must abstain from acts that would disrupt public order or shake the foundations of the Guinean nation."
His call for a government of national unity and an international inquiry follows swift condemnation of Monday's killing from the United Nations, the European Union, the Economic Community of West African Sates, France, and the United States.
Captain Camara has not announced whether he will be a candidate in January's scheduled presidential election. But he has told his supporters he will not insult them by ignoring their demands that he run.
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