The In’tl. Community’s “Democratically-Elected, Civilian President” Alpha Conde, Runs a Military-Security Forces Dictatorship in Guinea: Opposition Spokesman, A. Sylla, Arrested During March, Breaks it Down for You and Announces Next March for 4-24
posted April 19, 2013 at 4:23 p.m.
According to Aboubacar Sylla, ,the spokesman for the opposition, at the march site, police broke into their car, beat them up and nearly beat their two bodyguards to death. In addition, the police damaged their command car by breaking the windshield with large rocks, smashed the hood with rifle butts and kicked in the doors. Welcome to Guinea!
Interview with opposition leader and spokesman, Aboubacar Sylla
[Article translated into English via Google with editing by Guinea Oye]
© Guineenews: What happened?
Aboubacar Sylla: “Naturally, we were in the procession of peaceful protest against the unilateral management of the electoral process and in favor of transparent elections. We did the paperwork, Monday, April 15 by filing our request for approval of the march with local authorities. That is to say, for marching in the communities of Matoto, Matam and Kaloum. It was April 15. On April 16, we received, just 48 hours before the march, a response letter from the governor of Conakry, [Sekou Resco Camara] in which he made two requests. First, to indicate the names of those who were members of the organizing committee for the march, the five people, and secondly, to change route for the section we just Hamdallaye and the September 28 Stadium. We also responded in writing. So, on April 17, the day before the event, we sent a letter addressed to him. In this letter, we gave him the names of the five members of the organizing committee, who are, therefore, responsible for the event. There was Elhadj Cellou Dalein, Sidya Toure, Lansana Kouyaté, Mouctar Diallo and myself, Aboubacar Sylla. Then in the same letter, we told him that, having been informed very late, we did not have the ability to change the route. In order to get the word out to all the bases within our structure, we would have to do another information campaign. I remember passing the law says that for us to express a reasoned refusal to offer an alternative route, it must be done, at the latest, within 24 hours before the event. However, in the afternoon of April 17 … you realize that there was no more than a few hours before the march . . .. so, we said that this route cannot be changed because the authorities had exceeded the legal time limit. Not having a further reply from the governor, for us, the case was heard and we could take the route originally planned. This is so that we could proceed with the march.
At the [Gbessia] airport, there was a police cordon that had been installed there. As the protesters were very numerous, the cordon was then dismantled. When we arrived, as leaders in the motorcade, we proceeded to the roundabout at the airport and we continued on the Hwy. But at Gbessia-Kondébounyi, we encountered another police cordon, more strengthened than the first so that we do not proceed. Since we can not force a police cordon with small vehicles, we wanted to take the ramp to go back to Crusher, therefore, on the side of Hamdallaye. This is where our car was blocked and police, with impressive force, rushed my car. I believe that journalists took pictures of the attack. Coincidentally, there was a team of journalists who was just behind me, who fled, but some stayed in the vicinity and were able to film this part of the scene.
It’s as though the whole world tumbled down on us as they attacked the vehicle. As the car doors were locked, they took large stones to break the windshield and smashed the hood using rifle butts. They pierced the windows and broke down the doors. They nearly beat to death my bodyguard that was in front of me. There are even traces of blood on the vehicle seat. They brutally beat us up. Dean Charles Pascal Tolno was not fast enough for the police, so they picked him up by his head and feet and through him in the back of the police pick-up. So they brought us directly to the CMIS (mobile command unit). Before that, they hit the blood two bodyguards who were with me. When we arrived at the CMIS, we had some time there. I think they learned that my colleagues from other opposition political parties had decided to go to the CMIS to see if we were imprisoned and to, at least, require our immediate release.
So, they moved us to the DPJ [judicial police] in town. When we arrived there, we found the Minister Gassama Diaby who held vis-à-vis the director of youth protection, decent and about appeasement. Recalling that, while we are still from the opposition, we have rights that must do everything to protect.. Then we saw that we wanted to listen to our account of what happened. We told them everything we experienced and our indignation concerning these acts. Even in the time of General Lansana Conte’s presidency, it was basically all military and, even though it was the early days of democracy in Guinea, no such violence against political leaders took place.
So, immediately after we were released, we were told we could go home and were given a thousand excuses for the violence we suffered. I said from our point of view, I think that the reform of the security forces is far from reaching its goals. based on the brutality we experienced. It was not just something abnormal, but it was new. In Guinea, we have not experienced such violent excesses committed against politicians. We said that this is a serious setback for democracy and for human rights in our country. Minister Gassama put his vehicle at our disposal to bring us back to our families.
© Guineenews: You’ve been bullied, yourself?
Aboubacar Sylla: Yes, I was bullied as all the others who were with me in the vehicle. Imagine that someone is trying to get out of a violent way … you can not take it kindly. If you see the vehicle, if you are told that the vehicle did not rollover, a serious traffic accident, you will not believe. The doors are smashed, the windshield broken, hood smashed down, there are even footprints from police boots on the doors.
© Guineenews: These were policemen, gendarmes or who?
Aboubacar Sylla They were officers of the CMIS since it is there where we were taken. But, I ask myself a simple question, why was I the target? Because I do not believe in coincidences. There was a line of cars, why did they focused on my vehicle and why with such violence …? I think that this is simply an attempt to intimidate the spokesman. I’m thinking that by behaving well, they come down to my political ardor and manage to reduce my political beliefs. They were completely disabused of this thought. If perhaps, this is a lesson they wanted to give to others so they can get to the gate and scare each other, it is a waste of time.
We were not afraid of the military junta in 2009. I was at the stadium on September 28 to defend the values of democracy despite the orders of a junta leader who led the most undisciplined military in Africa … we still fought without fear. As everyone knows, Prof. Alpha Conde, had left and was not present in Guineawhen the September 28, 2009, massacre took place. We did not fight for civilian rule to have Conde assume the presidency in place of the military. It is not, therefore, civilian rule for which we fought only to have Conde take power where soldiers (and security forces) are used to perpetuate Conde’s power. As a result, this really is a civil regime that can intimidate us, to prevent us from enjoying our political rights. It is a waste of time. Rather, this dynamic strengthens our position more and we will not give an inch, we fight only for democracy, for the respect of human rights, so that Guinea no longer falls into a new dictatorship, we fight for a bright future for this country and we know that good governance does not consist of just a minimum of democracy. We do not fight for folding chairs in the Assembly, what do I know, prefabricated. We do not want the National Assembly to be a sounding board, but rather a reflection of the votes that were actually cast by Guineans on voting day. We fight for the National Assembly to play its fundamental role against power, to bring the executive to exercise impeccable political governance, economic as well as social. So, we fight for the next presidential election and before that municipal and community elections to take place in a transparent manner.
We fight not to have an “RPG'[Conde’s political party] state” in Guinea. To do this, we will fight to the end, since not doing so would be to betray not only our ideals, it would go against the direction of our political beliefs, but also betray the memory of all those who died for that struggle. So, for all these people, we can not retreat. The proof is that next week, we will continue our process of protesting as we will commit to marching on the 24th April, to be followed the next day on April 25 the day” ghost town”.
Interview by Amara Camara Moro