Opposition demonstrators attacked, killed in Guinea
The attack, which occurred on the Fidel Castro Highway in Conakry, left several demonstrators with serious wounds, while three people unfortunately lost their lives through gunshots. A police officer also got killed when he was stabbed with a sharp object.
The Media Foundation for West Africa (MFWA)'s correspondent reported that the incident occurred when security officers clamped down on demonstrators who were demanding a free and credible parliamentary election, slated for June this year.
"The police and gendarmes prevented the march by firing live bullets, tear gas and hot water directly at the protestors," the correspondent reported.
In the course of the melee, three journalists who were covering the violence were nearly lynched by some angry protesters. According to MFWA's correspondent, Djamilatou Thi'anguel Bah and Mohammed Bangoura – from privately-owned Lynx FM – and Amadou Bah, a reporter with Radio Bonheur FM, were roughed up and had their equipment smashed by the protestors.
"You journalists, you talk too much. You are spies, we are going to tear you apart" said an unidentified demonstrator, according to Bangoura.
This latest attack follows a similar one on 18 April, when hundreds of opposition demonstrators were left wounded when police officers fired bullets and tear gas to disrupt their protest march in Conakry.
The political standoff between the government and the opposition continues to intensify, with the opposition accusing the ruling party of planning to rig the parliamentary elections. Guinea's parliamentary election, originally scheduled for 2011, had been postponed about four times until President Alpha Conde recently decreed that the elections should be held on 30 June 2013.
The MFWA remains very concerned about the political unrest in the country and its effects on free expression. We reiterate our plea to the United Nations and its mediator for the Guinea crisis, Said Djinnit, to safeguard the safety of civilians and urge all concerned parties to show restraint and resort to peaceful dialogue.