Guinea’s Army Says It Will Hand Over Anyone Suspected of Involvement in Sept. 28 Massacre
UPDATE: Second article, with more information has been added.
Many questions: how are suspects determined? to whom will Guinea hand over suspects? and when will this happen?
Guinea to Hand Over Suspects in Massacre of Opposition Backers
June 18, 2010, 3:37 AM EDT
By Alpha Camara
June 18 (Bloomberg) — Guinea’s army said it will hand over anyone suspected of involvement in a massacre by the country’s security forces of opposition supporters in September.
Suspects “will not be protected because we are going to deliver them,” Colonel Nouhou Thiam, the army’s chief of staff, said on state-owned Radio Television Guineenne yesterday.
Government troops massacred more than 150 protestors and injured 1,000 people calling for free and fair elections on Sept. 28 in a stadium in Conakry, the capital. A United Nations panel has concluded the killings were “crimes against humanity.” The U.S. State Department has called for the perpetrators of the massacre to be “held to account.”
Guinea, which has been ruled by a military junta since December 2008, holds elections on June 27. The West African nation is the world’s biggest exporter of bauxite, a raw material used in the production of aluminum.
–Editors: Paul Richardson, Vernon Wessels.
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“Everyone will be held responsible for his actions, everyone will explain why they killed, who gave them the order to kill,” said Nouhou Thiam Wednesday. On tour to raise awareness in the various military barracks in the West African country, Thiam Nouhou is seeking to root out indiscipline in the army’s rank and file.
“The Guinean army should not be an army of thieves, thugs, an army of pirates, but rather a republican army, a responsible army because Guinea is a great country,” he said.
And Nouhou Thiam has promised to make any Guinean soldier who has been accused of crimes against the population answer in court. Revisiting the 2009, 28 September Conakry stadium massacre, which turned a peaceful demonstration into a bloodbath, the army chief warned that “all those who have committed crimes, who have killed people, now or in the past, will answer for their acts.”
At least 157 people died during the stadium massacre, while a number of rape cases were also reported. An inquiry set up by the UN has implicated several soldiers.
“If an investigation commission denounces a soldier, I will hand him over immediately”, Nouhou Thiam threatened. “He will go and give account because I never asked anyone to go and kill people,” he added, referring to Captain Dadis Camara who is in a self imposed exile in Ouagadougou. The former junta head is accused of instigating the Sept. 28 massacres, according to an international commission of inquiry.
The army chief’s statement comes only a few days after at least eight senior officers of the Guinean army close to captain Dadis Moussa Camara were detained for several days by the police near Conakry, before being released Monday.
Acting president Sékouba Konate has, since the beginning of the transitional period, embarked on a disciplinary campaign within the ranks of the Guinean army.