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Guinea junta must step aside: contact group

Conakry paralysed by massacre protest
Residents of the Guinean capital Conkary on Tuesday largely heeded union calls to stay at home for a second day in protest at the killing of at least 150 people by the army on September 28, residents said. Shops, markets and offices were closed and little traffic was seen on the roads, two weeks after the incident in which elite troops opened fire on thousands of demonstrators protesting military rule. Some police vehicles were seen patrolling the capital and in Hamdallaye, a neighbourhood known to house many opponents of the junta rule, police were posted on the crossroads in armoured vehicles. "I stayed at home because the (labour unions) called on all workers not to leave the house and pray for the memory of the victims of September 28," an official in the Hamdallaye neighbourhood told AFP. "I don't have any direct relatives (among the victims) but these are Guineans that were slain by the bullets of the (elite) Red Berets. We want to say: Never again! he said. On September 28, people defied a ban on protests to rally at the stadium for a demonstration to urge junta leader Captain Moussa Dadis Camara not to stand for president in elections he has pledged to hold in January next year. The killings began after presidential guard troops arrived in the stadium, but Camara has denied responsibility and declared himself "very, very sorry" for the slaughter. Rights organisations and the United Nations say that more than 150 people were killed and 1,200 injured, while the junta puts the death toll at 56.
by Staff Writers
Abuja (AFP) Oct 13, 2009
The junta in Guinea should step down and make way for a new transitional body after the army massacred dozens of opposition protestors, regional and international groups said on Tuesday.

The International Contact Group on Guinea "has called for a new transitional authority in Guinea" which should be "based on the withdrawal" of the 10-month-old ruling junta, it said in a statement.

The group, which comprises regional bodies, the European Union, the United Nations, the African Union and the Organisation of Islamic Conference, said the interim team should aim at a "short peaceful transitional period".

During its tenure in office the team should conduct "credible, free and fair elections in which those holding executive position demonstrate total neutrality throughout the electoral process".

The contact group met in the Nigerian capital Abuja on Monday after which Nigerian President Umaru Yar'Adua called for an emergency summit of heads of states from 15 west African states to discuss Guinea and Niger.

The extraordinary summit of the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) is due on Saturday, the deadline set by the African Union's Peace and Security Council for Guinea's junta leader Captain Moussa Dadis Camara to re-affirm his commitment to stay out of the presidential election.

Elections are due in January 2010.

International and regional pressure is mounting on Camara to categorically state that neither himself nor any member of his National Council for Democracy and Development (CNDD) would stand in the polls.

If he remains defiant he could face sanctions, according to Nigerian Deputy Foreign Minister Bagudu Hirse.

Camara seized power in December last year after the death of Guinean strongman Lansana Conte, who had ruled the world's top bauxite producer since 1984.

More than 150 people were killed when troops opened fire on opposition demonstrators at a stadium in Guinea's capital Conakry on September 28, according to the UN and rights group. The government says 56 people died.

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ECOWAS ministers in post-massacre talks on Guinea crisis
Abuja (AFP) Oct 12, 2009
The head of West Africa's regional bloc slammed Guinea's military rulers Monday over the "brutal killings of unarmed and defenceless civilians" as ministers met to discuss a response to last month's bloody crackdown on the junta's opponents. Mohamed Ibn Chambas, head of the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) said the situation in Guinea is "characterised by arbitrary ... read more

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