Camp Boiro Memorial

Amnesty International
1994 Report on Human Rights

Dozens of people were shot dead and many more injured by the security forces during demonstrations, but the government took little or no action to curb the killings. A prisoner died after reportedly being tortured. Two political detainees were held without charge or trial.

Following its postponement of multiparty elections in December 1992, the government of President Lansana Conte faced renewed pressure from the opposition which culminated in September in a series of demonstrations calling for the establishment of a government of national unity.

These demonstrations were suppressed using force and at least 18 people were killed. The presidential election in December, in which President Conte was returned to power, was marred by violence in which 12 people died, and was criticized by international observers and opposition parties as unfair.

In June Guinea ratified the (First) Optional Protocol to the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights.

Dozens of people were shot dead and others wounded by the security forces who repeatedly opened fire on demonstrators and were permitted to do so with impunity. As in previous years, the government failed to hold the security forces accountable for human rights violations and most killings were not even investigated. In one case only did the authorities announce that soldiers had been arrested for shooting demonstrators and then no further action was reported.

In February four women were reportedly killed in Faranah, 500 kilometres northeast of the capital, Conakry, when security forces fired at demonstrators protesting against alleged corruption in army recruitment and calling for the release of two people who had been arrested at a related demonstration. The authorities accused opposition leaders of responsibility for the violence but no investigation into the killings was known to have taken place.

In Conakry, two people were killed during a violent demonstration in May: some sources suggested that people loyal to the President had instigated the violence which led to these deaths, but this could not be confirmed. After the demonstration, six political party leaders were summoned for questioning by the gendarmerie: this led to further protests in which two government supporters were reportedly killed by opposition activists in Dinguiraye and at least three opposition supporters were reportedly shot dead by soldiers in Kankan in early June.

Two other people were reportedly shot dead by soldiers at Dinguiraye in June, after a dispute between the local governor and religious officials about the correct date of the Muslim Tabaski ('Id al-Kabir) festival. The shootings occurred after local people refused to obey an order banning the celebration of the festival on 1 June.

The largest number of killings occurred in late September, when some 30 opposition political parties organized a rally to demand a government of national unity. Three demonstrators were shot dead when the rally, on 28 September, which had begun peacefully, became violent. Further demonstrations followed and by 30 September official figures reported 18 people dead and nearly 200 injured. An eyewitness reported seeing 40 corpses at the main morgue in Conakry, all with bullet wounds. Following the killings on 28 September the authorities announced the arrest of two soldiers. but no subsequent action was reported. President Conte's response to the killings was to publicly accuse Opposition leaders of exploiting inter-ethnic tension and to impose a two-month ban on street demonstrations.

In July a suspected murderer, Mamadou Keita, was reportedly summarily executed by soldiers in Kissidougou. Suspected of killing a relative, he gave himself up to the authorities after a crowd threatened to take revenge on his mother. In the face of continued public unrest, the military apparently overruled a judicial decision to guarantee his security and reportedly executed him by firing-squad in front of a large crowd. The authorities took no action against those responsible.

One detainee was alleged to have died as a result of torture. Almamy Liman Kourouma, a criminal suspect, died in August at the central police station in the Commandanyah area of Conakry the day after his arrest. A forensic doctor reportedly concluded that his death was due to a heart attack, but people who saw his body said it bore signs of torture. An official inquiry was reportedly initiated but its outcome was not known.

Jean Soumaoro, a newspaper director, was sentenced to three months' imprisonment in February. after being convicted in absentia of libel. He had apparently accused an army captain of ordering soldiers to open fire on demonstrators in October 1991 in Kankan (see Amnesty International Reports 1992 and 1993). The court issued a warrant for his arrest but apparently he remained at liberty.

Amadou II Diallo and Amirou Diallo, arrested in October 1992 in connection with an alleged assassination attempt against President Conte, were held without charge or trial throughout the year. It emerged that the brief detention of opposition leader Amadou Oury Bah in October l992 (see Amnesty International Report 1993) occurred after he was implicated in the assassination attempt by Amadou II Diallo.

In December about 20 people, mostly local traders, were killed in three villages around Macenta, close to the border with Liberia, by members of a Liberian rebel force, the United Liberation Movement for Democracy in Liberia (ULIMO), who raided villages suspected of harbouring opponents from the National Patriotic Front of Liberia (NPFL).

Amnesty International expressed concern to the government about killings by the security forces, calling for them to be thoroughly investigated and for those responsible for human rights violations to be brought to justice. Amnesty International also urged the government to instruct all members of the security forces that lethal force may only be used strictly in accordance with international standards, in particular, the UN Basic Principles on the Use of Force and Firearms by Law Enforcement Officials.