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article imageCamara announces inquiry but Guineans gripped with fear

By Stephanie Dearing     Oct 10, 2009 in World
While non-governmental agencies (NGOs) are working to determine how many women were raped on September 28 in Guinea's capital city, Conakry, rumours abound that women who claim they were raped are being taken away by soldiers.
A cloak of fear is growing in the capital city of Conakry. NGOs say that they have now affirmed that 33 women were raped by soldiers on September 28, 2009. The process is painstaking because women are avoiding hospitals and clinics since word began to circulate that soldiers were removing rape victims from hospitals. The fear people are feeling has affected their behaviour. Some doctors are denying that they have treated rape victims, and civil servants are keeping silent lest they be targeted by government forces. Guinea just announced it will hold a Commission of Inquiry into the events of September 28th. Calling the protest that was held on September 28th illegal, Captain Moussa Dadis Camara said the investigation was being launched to satisfy the all the people who have been asking for the prosecution of the perpetrators of the massacre and rapes.
The United Nations would like to launch its own inquiry, but is concerned about protecting the safety of Guineans. The UN's human rights advisor who was posted to Guinea in 2008 will remain there. An independent investigation is being organized by the Economic Community of West African States.
In the meanwhile, Guinean trade union leaders have called for a two day strike to take place October 12 and 13th, asking workers to stay home to mourn those were killed during the demonstration in September. Youth organizations are preparing to hunger strike to protest the murders and rapes.
The estimated number of dead is believed to be near 200, while it is now thought that approximately 150 women and girls were raped. The government has held fast to its claim that only 57 people were killed, and said that they died during a stampede at the stadium in Conakry during the protest. NGOs and others think that there is at least one secret mass grave. Guineans are asking for an international inquiry, saying that the international criminal court has jurisdiction in the matter.
Amnesty International is asking for arms sales to Guinea to stop, claiming that Guinea's army is sporting European-supplied weapons. Erwin van der Borght, Amnesty's Africa Program Director said Amnesty International was "... calling for [is] an immediate suspension of all transfers of police military equipment, ammunition and other equipment, which could be used to commit human rights abuses by security forces in Guinea."
Guinea has been suspended from its membership in the African Union since Camara took power in 2008. The African Union has threatened to use unspecified sanctions against Guinea if Camara does not commit to staying out of the upcoming elections in 2010.
The European Union has stepped back from imposing sanctions, saying that the African Union should be the organization to enact any diciplinary measures. However, the EU has said it would participate in a peace-keeping mission in Guinea if asked. France has suspended all military aid to Guinea.
More about Guinea, Repression, Military attack, Rape, Protest
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