What Future for Guinea?

December 13, 2009

Since the deadly attack on civilians by Guinea’s security forces on September 28th, 2009, Guinea is showing many signs of slowly unraveling, leading many to wonder what Guinea’s future will look like. Between interest in Guinea’s rich mineral resources, to concerns about rising ethnic and regional divisions, to theories about France’s involvement, media outlets have been rife with stories about Guinea’s political turmoil.

Of course, the failed assassination attempt on December 3rd on the leader of Guinea’s ruling military junta, Captain Moussa Dadis Camara, who is still in Morocco recovering in a hospital, has dominated the headlines. And with good reason too:

Since the failed assassination attempt, General Sekouba Konate, the defense minister, has ruled Guinea, continuing the reign of terror that has characterized the junta’s rule since it took power last December. Arguing that discipline has been completely shattered and that they can “no longer let undesirable people act within our ranks,” the general is now advocating for military units to “root out the bad elements, actually eliminate them from our ranks.” If that’s not a call to fratricide, I’m not sure what is.

The situation in Guinea “risks not only destabilising the country in the long-term” but “also undermines all our efforts to consolidate peace in post-conflict countries such as Liberia, Sierra Leone, Guinea-Bissau and Ivory Coast”. ECOWAS chief Mohammed Ibn Chambas, December 13, 2009

But despite these worrying developments, we cannot forget the victims of the September 28th tragedy. Amnesty International researchers, who just recently returned from Guinea, found that over 40 people who had attended the rally on September 28th are still missing. Dead bodies identified in photographs and film footage from that tragic day were never found at any of Conakry’s hospitals, morgues or military camps. As for the others, they were probably killed or forcibly disappeared.

So as the international community debates on ways to return Guinea to civilian rule and as Guinea’s neighbors, increasingly worried about the destabilizing effects on the entire region consider the possibility of deploying a regional peacekeeping force, we need to remember the victims of September 28th. They deserve justice.