African Union Backs Arms Embargo on Guinea
By Scott Stearns
18 October 2009
The African Union is backing a West African arms embargo on Guinea following last month's killing of opposition protesters.
The African Union is extending its deadline for military ruler Captain Moussa Camara to declare that he is not running for president.
The AU had given Captain Camara until midnight Saturday to make that promise in writing or face unspecified sanctions. But the group's Peace and Security Commission is delaying that decision so it can consult with Burkinabe President Blaise Compaore, who is leading West African efforts to mediate an end to the crisis.
The Economic Community of West African States imposed an arms embargo on Guinea Saturday, accusing the military of "mass human rights violations" during a demonstration last month against Captain Camara's expected presidential candidacy.
Human rights groups say at least 157 were killed when troops opened fire on protesters. The military government says 57 people died, most in the crush of people fleeing the main sports stadium.
The International Criminal Court has opened a preliminary investigation into possible crimes against humanity during that violence.
United Nations Assistant Secretary General Haile Menkerios arrived in Conakry Sunday at the start of a UN probe into the killings.
The military government Saturday launched its own inquiry, but political parties, trade unions, and civil society groups are refusing to take part. That main opposition coalition says it will not join President Compaore's mediation talks unless Captain Camara resigns and his ruling council is dissolved.
The French government has instructed its citizens to leave the country. French Foreign Minister Bernard Kouchner praised the ECOWAS arms embargo and said those responsible for the September 28 violence, including those who ordred it, must be punished.
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