TODAY: Conde Loyalists, Militia, and Police Get Payback After March and It’s Violent and Bloody
Yesterday, along the march route there were two attacks on marchers by loyalists of Alpha Conde’s party, the RPG. It involved the throwing of stones at cars in the opposition’s caravan and at marchers as well. Opposition returned the stones in kind. When the second incident of stone throwing began, the police let off gas canisters and the situation de-escalated.
This morning RPG loyalists arrived at the Madina market and began destroying merchandise sold by Peul merchants. In addition, Puel’s cars were damaged as well. Shortly afterwards, RPG loyalists and militia set up roadblocks on major thoroughfares coming into the city.
It was not long before youth from the primarily Peul neighborhoods of Bambeto and Cosa got wind that their parents merchant stands had been destroyed in Madina and they began to head there. They were stopped by a combination of RPG loyalists, militia and cops. There are reports of serious injuries.
Interestingly enough, the international press hopped on this story very quickly. Below is an AP story. Following that are excerpts from Guinee58 which appeared this morning and s important details.
Stay tuned . . .
By BOUBACAR DIALLO
Associated Press / September 21, 2012
- CONAKRY, Guinea (AP) — Anti-riot police on Friday dispersed protesters in the Medina market of Guinea’s capital, after a riot broke out between sellers from the Peul and Malinke ethnic groups, the two largest ethnicities in the country, according to witnesses.
By afternoon, the riots had spread to other parts of the city and in Peul-dominated areas of the capital, residents were stopping taxis and yanking out Malinke passengers. There are similar reports in Malinke areas, where Peul passengers were suddenly not being allowed in.
In this country of around 11 million people, the Peule make up about 40 percent of the population and the Malinka 30 percent, according to U.S. State Department figures.
Tensions between the two groups have been running high ever since the 2010 presidential election, which was won by Malinke politician Alpha Conde. He defeated a Peul candidate, and the vote was overwhelmingly carried out along ethnic lines. Since coming to power, Conde is accused of favoring his ethnic group in appointments to government ministries, all the way down to the guards and janitors.
On Friday, an AP reporter saw police fire tear gas to try to break up the protesters at the Medina market. The two ethnic groups carry out different activities in the market, with the Malinke concentrated in the area selling spare automobile parts, while the Peul sell clothes and food.
Moussa Yero Diallo, a Peul, said he saw cars being stopped all along Prince Boulevard, the main thoroughfare that bisects the predominantly-Peul suburbs of Bambeto, Cosa and Enco-5 in Conakry.
‘‘On the axis Bambeto to Cosa and all the way to Enco-5, youths are demonstrating and are blocking taxis and saying that only the Peul passengers can travel on Prince road. If you are not Peul, you are forced to get out of the car. They say they are doing this because they have been told that Malinke youths are blocking vehicles on the freeway, where they are forcing Peul passengers to get out and are stealing their things,’’ said Diallo, who lives near the intersection of Prince Boulevard and Bambeto.
Oumar Diallo, who is also Peul, said that he was forced to get out of the communal taxi he was riding in.
‘‘This morning near the Medina market, I was in a taxi when they recognized that I am a Peul. A bunch of youths speaking the Malinke language told me to get down. They hit me, they stole my money and my phone. I thought I was going to get lynched by these Malinke youths, who are hunting down Peul,’’ said Diallo.
Guinea won its independence from France in 1958, and was under the hold of successive strongmen until the 2010 election, considered the first democratic vote in the country’s history. The vote was widely praised by the international community, despite the ethnic fault line that became evident during riots leading up the vote, and in protests following the announcement of Conde’s victory.
The country has one of the world’s largest supplies of bauxite, the raw material used to make aluminum, as well as reserves of gold and virgin stands of timber. It’s often cited as an example of Africa’s ‘‘resource curse,’’ because its rich mineral wealth contrasts with the endemic poverty of its people.
Excerpts from Guinee58: Google translation to English with editing by Guinea Oye
“The clashes were triggered by militias and armed militants of People’s Rally of Guinea (RPG arc-en-ciel), the ruling party. The gunmen have attacked opposition activists and especially the citizens of Fouta, a region that Cellou Dalein Diallo, President UFDG, is from. Ethnic violence orchestrated by the RPG is a well-known tactic in the country. One remembers deadly attacks and violence against nationals of the same Foutah were victims in the two rounds of the 2010 presidential election in Upper Guinea and part of Forest Guinea.”
“Our sources tell us that several people were injured in the attack which opposition activists have been subjected by the militia and other armed militants in parts of RPG in Conakry. For now, the government has not responded but witnesses say dozens of people are injured. Rescuers struggling to intervene to help the injured as criminals RPG, which apparently were well prepared for their expedition, barricaded all the exits.”
“”Events worsen in Conakry, where we were told that the property and assets of nationals of several Foutah residents and the Sig-madina Mafonco two neighborhoods in the municipality of Matam are victims of aggression by militants from the RPG, party of the Head of State Mr. Alpha Condé. Currently militiamen and militants of RPG attack families, violate girls and steal the goods, all under the helpless gaze of the police. All exits are blocked and people are trapped in carnage. Police and gendarmes arrived to protect activists RPG and do not care about real victims. Looting and vandalism continues.”
“The people on the ground we report unprecedented violence against young people from these two districts. Several arrests and injuries were registered among civilians. ‘The security forces shoot live ammunition at anything that moves. The situation remains tense. We have never seen such repression even in the worst moments of the two rounds of the presidential election, “said a resident of Cosa. “Decidedly the event yesterday caused panic on the side of the regime if not nothing justifies such violence against innocent civilians” deplores this person.’”
As we submit this dispatch online, police vans full of young people arrested were leaving to unknown destinations. Serious injuries without medical assistance covered the streets as human blood along the arteries of the neighborhood was observed.”