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West African States Order Arms Embargo on Guinea

By VOA News
17 October 2009

West African nations have ordered an arms embargo on neighboring Guinea and accused the military government of carrying out "atrocities" during a bloody crackdown on protesters last month.

Members of the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) called for the embargo after a Saturday summit in Abuja, Nigeria. Leaders with the regional bloc have expressed concern that Guinea's political crisis could destabilize the region.

Rights groups say troops killed at least 157 protesters during an anti-government rally in Conakry on September 28. They cite witnesses who said the soldiers shot and stabbed protesters and gang raped women and girls. The government puts the death toll at 57.

Guinea's military leader, Captain Moussa "Dadis" Camara, is facing intense international pressure over the incident.

The African Union was also due to meet Saturday to consider sanctions against Guinea.

The United Nations announced Friday that a commission will investigate possible human rights violations and the International Criminal Court has launched a war crimes probe.

On Friday, Guinean Information Minister Justin Morel Junior became the third Cabinet member to resign over the killings.

In a letter to Captain Camara Morel said he no longer had the moral strength to be the government's spokesman.

Mr. Camara took power in a coup last December after the death of Guinea's longtime president, Lansana Conte. He vowed not to seek formal election but has since reversed that position, a move that prompted the September 28 rally against his military government.

Some information for this report was provided by AFP, AP and Reuters.

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