Friday, November 13, 2009
CSOs plan mass protest against Guinean junta
West African Civil Society Organisations (CSO) on Wednesday initiated moves to galvanise mass social and civil agitation across the region against the military junta in Guinea.
The mass social and civil agitation would also target the ECOWAS Commission, member countries and the African Union (AU) to adopt proactive and punitive stand against the Guinean military dictators, Mr Alimou Diallo, Regional Coordinator, West Africa Network for Peace Building (WANEP) stated in Accra.
Mr Diallo was speaking at a regional public forum organised by Media Foundation for West Africa on the "Political Situation in Guinea - End Impunity Now."
He said the suspension of Guinea from ECOWAS and AU in line with the principle of zero tolerance for unconstitutional change of government was not enough.
Mr Diallo said the socio-economic conditions of the ordinary Guineans had worsened and there was widespread fear that the nation was being held hostage by an unidentified group of individuals motivated by personal gain.
He said there was rising concern that the political imbroglio unfolding in Guinea, once regarded as an oasis of calm against the civil wars in neighbouring countries, could lead to uncertain and dangerous scenarios that would spread across the region.
Mr Diallo said the mass agitation therefore would expose the carnage the military junta was perpetrating on ordinary Guineans especially women, children and the vulnerable.
Mr Thierno Balde, Guinean Attorney and President of the Research Institute on Democracy and Rule of Law (IRDED), said the level of security in Guinea had deteriorated steadily since the coup in December 2008 and had been made worse by the massacre of more than 150 people on 28 September in Conakry.
He said although Conakry was currently relatively calm the city remained tense with sporadic shooting and looting of shops at night.
Many shops, offices, banks and petrol stations are currently closed while the military junta that took over power on 23 December 2008, the National Council for Democracy and Development (CNDD) had banned any gatherings of large groups and prohibited demonstrations.
Mr Balde said areas of Guinea bordering Senegal and Guinea Bissau were reported as being tense with increased military presence, whilst the border areas with Côte d'Ivoire, Liberia and Sierra Leone were also unstable.
Mr Balde, who is also a member of the Guinean Bar Association, said the country was on the verge of total collapse and called on ECOWAS, AU and the international community to intervene immediately.
Mrs Adwoa Kluvitse, Country Director, Actionaid Ghana, condemned atrocities committed against women and girls, especially alleged gang rape of over 30 women and girls during the massacre of opposition protesters in Guinea.
On September 28 some military personnel opened fire on thousands of opposition activists protesting against the prospect of the junta leader standing in presidential elections set for January 31 next year.
Whilst the junta claimed 56 civilians were killed, the United Nations put the death toll at more than 150, while the Guinean Human Rights Organisation quotes at least 157 dead with about 1,253 being wounded in the crackdown.
Professor Kwame Karikari, Executive Director of MFWA, said the foundation in collaboration with other civil society groupings was using the forum to draw attention to the deteriorating political situation in Guinea.
He said the Guinean case would send a negative signal to the international community on democracy and good governance in West Africa.
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