Wednesday 20.9.2017 in Latest Developments in Guinea Country Page
On 16th August, a young man was killed and 12 others wounded during a large opposition demonstration in Conakry that mobilised between 500,000 and 700,000 protesters, according to numbers cited by the opposition. The victim, 21-year-old Thierno Hamidou Diallo, "was shot in the chest by a law enforcement officer while sitting on the balcony of his apartment in Bambéto”. According to the minister who expressed regrets on behalf of the security forces, the alleged shooter, a police captain, was arrested and "immediately placed at the disposal of the Central Directorate of the Judicial Police". An additional six protesters were detained. Alouine Tine, regional director for West and Central Africa of Amnesty International, stated in regards to the incident that:
"It is inadmissible that people are still being killed or injured by bullets during peaceful assemblies in Guinea. There cannot be any justification for the excessive and arbitrary use of force, especially the use of firearms against persons who do not constitute a direct and imminent threat".
La manifestation en Guinée Conakry, Le peuple ont répondus à l'appel de l'opposition pour dire non au 3ème mandat. pic.twitter.com/oFS8Eqa3jy— Maître Lufudu A. (@lufudu117) 4 augustus 2017
On 2nd August 2017, thousands of opposition supporters demonstrated in Conakry to demand that the political agreements of October 2016 be respected by President Alpha Condé, which foresee the holding of local elections. At the time of writing, no date had been set for the local elections, which were supposed to take place in February 2017, as agreed upon in the 2016 political agreement between the party in power and opposition. The last local elections date back to 2005.
At least one person was killed and 29 people injured during protests which started on 12th September in Boké, 300 km from the capital Conakry. The protest was initially peaceful, as demonstrators protested the lack of basic services in the area, but the event turned violent when security forces were deployed to the area on 13th September. Protesters reacted to the security forces by throwing stones and vandalising two police vehicles. According to witnesses interviewed by AFP, security officers used tear gas and batons, before firing on the demonstrators with live ammunition.
On 17th July, the popular reggae artist known as Elie Kamano was prevented from marching peacefully in the capital to denounce President Alpha Conde’s alleged intention to modify the constitution and seek a third term in office. He was arrested by the police at the start of the march, along with a local NGO representative as well as with three other protesters. Other protesters were dispersed with tear gas and grenades. The detainees were released after 24 hours. Kamano vowed to continue his fight. A few days later on 25th July, another reggae artist, Mouctar Soumah, popularly known as Takana Zion, was arrested on 25th July during a peaceful protest that had been forbidden by the authorities. Soumah organized the march to denounce bad governance, corruption and neglect of the youth. According to the Minister of State, Soumah was arrested because he “did not respect the procedure for organizing a demonstration”. According to Soumah's lawyer, Sidiki Berété, he was released after 24 hours.
In celebration of World Press Freedom Day on 3rd May, Syndicat Professionel de la Presse Privée held a press conference to condemn the precarious working conditions for journalists in the country. Union de la Presse de Guinée invited the international observer group, Reporters without Borders, to document the state of the Guinean media landscape for its annual report.
On 9th May, a group of police officers in the act of assaulting two individuals were filmed by Boubacar Camera from Télévision Gnagna. The police officers retaliated by beating up Camera and deleting the files from his camera, before setting him free. Télévision Gnagna vowed to file a complaint against the police officers.
On 1st June 2017, the High Authority of Communications (HAC) suspended the most-listened to programme in Guinea known as “Les Grandes Gueules” (The Big Mouths) and hosted by radio station Espace FM. HAC cited a violation of the ethical code for journalists in Guinea committed by moderator Mohamed Mara, who according to the HAC, said that "all children born from 1968 [in polygamous families] are bastards” in its programme on 30th May. The programme was suspended for five days, while Mara was suspended for one month.
On 27th July 2017, the national state Radio Television Guinéenne (RTG) suspended popular TV news reporter Alie Camara until further notice because he had commented on the high failure rate among students taking their baccalaureate exams. During a news programme, Camara had declared the 73 percent failure rate an "intellectual massacre". The Media Foundation for West Africa (MFWA) believes that the suspension of Camara is too harsh of a punishment, even though the RTG authorities could consider his comment as "indiscreet". Therefore, MFWA urged the management of RTG to reconsider its decision and to reinstate Camara to his position sooner rather than later.