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GUINEA: "The barbarity we saw cannot be described"

DAKAR, 2 October 2009 (IRIN) - Guineans strain to find the words to describe the violence they saw on 28 September when soldiers opened fire on demonstrators, stabbing people with bayonets and gang-raping women and girls. Hundreds of Guineans have been unable to collect the remains of their loved ones, as soldiers blocked entry to morgues and – residents say – loaded up bodies in trucks and took them away.

Residents of the capital Conakry said tension was high on 2 October, as the junta held a ceremony to bury the bodies of the 57 people it says died, most "by asphyxiation" in a stampede. One man searching for his brother went to the morgue where the corpses were brought out; he said the stench from decomposing bodies was overwhelming.

Here is some of what Guineans told IRIN on 28 September and the days following:

"The barbarity we saw cannot be described."

"We saw soldiers walking on cadavers."

“They shoved their Kalashnikovs into women’s vaginas – I saw this.”

"I was completely destroyed by the brutality I saw. If I had a bomb that day I would have pulled a kamikaze."

"The military is loading up bodies in trucks and hiding them. At the very least leave us the bodies of our loved ones."

"People were afraid to seek treatment in hospital because some doctors refused to treat the injured, saying the demonstrators were to blame for the violence."

"We fear civil war. There were militias who were out the next day going through neighbourhoods with machetes."

"Soldiers are prowling the neighbourhood [Bambeto, on 29 September]. When they see a resident they say: "You move, we shoot'. They say: 'It's you, Peulhs, who want to get in our way. We are going to exterminate you all.'"
[Peulh is one of Guinea’s main ethnic groups; junta leader Camara is Guerze, a group from the Forest Region]

"Anyone who is not on their [the soldiers'] side, they are going to slaughter us all."

"If the impunity continues, that is it for Guinea. Civil war. It will be worse than Liberia."

"No one is safe."

np/ci

Theme (s): Conflict, Early Warning, Governance, Human Rights,

[This report does not necessarily reflect the views of the United Nations]

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