US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton said yesterday Guinea’s military leaders should quit after soldiers went on a rampage at a protest rally, killing more than 150 people and raping women.
“We were appalled and outraged by the recent violence in Guinea,” Clinton said during a news conference with Pakistan’s foreign minister.
“The indiscriminate killing and raping by government troops was a vile violation of the rights of the people of that country.”
Military leader Moussa Dadis Camara’s troops opened fire on a rally at a stadium in the capital Conakry on September 28. A local human rights group said 157 were killed and hundreds wounded. There were reports of many women raped by the troops, Reuters reports.
Camara seized power in Guinea, the world’s top bauxite exporter, after a coup in December and has angered his opponents by refusing to say he would opt out of presidential elections set for January.
The AU has given Camara until mid-October to confirm that he will stay out of the January 31 elections, threatening sanctions if he misses the deadline.
“We intend to pursue appropriate actions against the current administration in that country,” Clinton said.
“The leadership of Guinea owe a profound apology to the people, who had gathered in peaceful protest against the military takeover,” she said.
“They owe not only that apology in words, but in recognition that they cannot remain in power, that they must turn back to the people the right to choose their own leaders.”
Clinton said US diplomats had spoken to Guinea’s leaders in the “strongest possible terms.” The State Department said US officials had expressed “deep outrage” and “condemned the massacre and egregious human rights violations.”
Assistant Secretary of State for African Affairs Johnnie Carson and Deputy Assistant Secretary of State William Fitzgerald urged Camara to restore order, control his troops, and allow an international investigation, State Department spokesperson Ian Kelly said.
Clinton said she was particularly appalled by the violence against women.
“In broad daylight in a stadium, it was criminality to the greatest degree,” she said.
“Those who committed such acts should not be given any reason to expect that they will escape justice.”
Pic: US Secretary of State- Hillary Clinton