From Awareness Times Newspaper in Freetown

Dadis the Guinean Butcher Says He Is Saddened that his Soldiers Slaughtered Humans Like Cows
Sep 30, 2009, 17:22

Captain Dadis Kamara told local radio stations that it was difficult to control soldiers when there was tension in the country

Reports monitored by Awareness Times now indicates that at least 157 people were killed when Guinean troops opened fire on opposition protesters on Monday, a human rights group says but the country's interior ministry has told the BBC that only 57 people died in the protests.

The disgraceful incident which has blighted the subregion's credentials has seen Human rights groups report of soldiers bayoneting people and women being stripped and publicly raped in the streets during the protest.

Although the Junta head Capt Moussa Dadis Camara has denied knowledge of sexual assaults, he however admits that some of his security forces had lost control.

French Foreign Minister Bernard Kouchner said France was suspending military ties with Guinea after the "savage and bloody" crackdown on opposition protesters, French news agency AFP reported.

About 50,000 people were protesting over rumours that Capt Camara intends to run for president in an election scheduled for next January. But soldiers moved in to quell the rally using tear gas and baton charges and firing live ammunition into the crowds.

The ministry source admitted that some soldiers had fired live rounds into the crowd, but said that only four people had died from gunshot wounds. The others, the ministry said, were trampled to death.

The opposition has accused the army of taking away some bodies to hide the scale of the violence.

Human rights groups said there were widespread reports of rape.

"The military is going into districts, looting goods and raping women," Mamadi Kaba, the head of the Guinean branch of the African Encounter for the Defence of Human Rights (RADDHO), told AFP.

"We have similar reports from several sources, including police sources and some close to the military," said Mr Kaba, from his office in Dakar, Senegal.

An eyewitness told Human Rights Watch: "I saw several women stripped and then put inside the military trucks and taken away. I don't know what happened to them."

"They were raping women publicly," opposition activist Mouctar Diallon said in an interview with French radio station RFI.

Guinean human rights activist Souleymane Bah told Reuters news agency that people trying to escape from the shooting were "caught and finished off with bayonets".

Captain Dadis Kamara told local radio stations that it was difficult to control the soldiers when there was tension in the country. The military strongman also said he was "immensely saddened" by the deaths.

Opposition leader Sidya Toure, who was arrested during the protests, told our correspondent that after his release he had returned home to find his home completely looted.

Mr Toure said he had witnessed women being sexually attacked with gun butts and added: "I don't know whether I'm on earth or in hell".

There has been worldwide condemnation of the violence. UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon urged the Guinean authorities to exercise maximum restraint, while the West African regional body Ecowas is reported to be pursuing sanctions against the military regime. The African Union has now expressed grave concern over the latest violence, condemning the "indiscriminate firing on unarmed civilians".

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