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UN Approves Commission to Study Guinea Massacre

By VOA News
29 October 2009

The United Nations Security Council has approved creating a commission to investigate the massacre of opposition protesters in Guinea last month by government troops.

In a statement Wednesday, the Security Council strongly condemned the violence and called on Guinean authorities to charge and try the perpetrators responsible for the killings.

The council also endorsed calls by the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) for a new transitional authority in Guinea that would ensure free and credible elections in which members of Guinea's military junta would not take part.

The United Nations says 157 people were killed when army troops attacked opposition protesters September 28 at a rally in the capital of Conakry. Rights groups say the bloody crackdown was premeditated and aimed at terrorizing opponents of military rule.

Guinea's military government says only 57 people were killed, and that most of them died in a stampede.

U.N. Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon ordered an inquiry into the crackdown earlier this month.

The Security Council noted that authorities in Guinea have officially committed to support the work of the investigators in secure conditions.

Military leader Captain Moussa Dadis Camara took power in a coup last December after the death of Guinea's longtime president, Lansana Conte.

Captain Camara vowed not to seek formal election but later indicated he may run for president, a move that prompted the September rally against his military government.

Meanwhile, Guinean soldiers on Thursday arrested several pro-democracy demonstrators who were on a hunger strike to protest last month's massacre. Pro-democracy activists say it is not known where the demonstrators were taken.

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

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