President Lansana Conté, who had ruled Guinea for more than 24 years, died on December 22nd, 2008. Immediately after his death, a military junta led by Captain Moussa Dadis Camara seized power, promising to hold presidential elections in early 2010. Camara also promised at the time that he would not run for election. However, Camara soon broke his promise and in August 2009 suggested that he may run for the presidency after all.
On September 28th, 2009, security forces opened fire on several thousand demonstrators who had assembled in a Conakry stadium to show their opposition to Camara's candidacy in the presidential elections. The Guinean security forces not only used live ammunition on the demonstrators, but also shot unarmed protestors with the intent to kill. Witnesses also told Amnesty International that several women were stripped naked and publicly raped by soldiers, and that soldiers used bayonets and daggers to kill civilians. The Guinean government claims that only 58 people were killed that day but human rights organizations report that upwards of 157 people may have died.
In response to this tragedy, Amnesty International called all states to suspend international supplies of military and police weaponry, munitions and other equipment that could be used to commit human rights violations by Guinean security forces. Amnesty also called for an international commission of inquiry to investigate the events of September 28th.
Despite a clear pattern of violence and human rights violations committed by Guinean security forces in recent years, a number of governments, including the US, France and China, and companies have continued to authorize, finance and organize the supply of military and security equipment, training and other assistance to Guinean security forces. The decade-long failure of states to adequately assess the risk that each of their exports of arms and training to Guinean could facilitate serious human rights violations is s testimony to the urgent need for all states to adopt international standards to assess arms transfers on a case-by-case basis against international humanitarian and human rights law. This should be enshrined in an objective, non-discriminatory way in the Arms Trade Treaty which the UN General Assembly has agreed should now be negotiated.
An Amnesty International delegation to Guinea in November 2009 found that over 40 people who had attended the rally were still missing. This includes dead bodies that were identified in photographs and film footage taken at the stadium but were not subsequently found at any of Conakry's hospitals, morgues, mosques or military camps, including Camp Alpha Yaya Diallo. The whereabouts of others who attended the rally is now unknown. Amnesty International fears that they may have been killed or subjected to enforced disappearance.
As of December 2009, the situation in Guinea continues to unravel, as insecurity remains prevalent and the military continues to commit human rights abuses. Guinea's security forces are continuing to arrest and harass activists and others who do not support the military junta, including Mouctar Diallo, vice-president of Guinea's national human rights commission, who was arrested on 26 November. Amnesty International discovered that Diallo is being detained in military Camp Alpha Yaya, for "endangering the security of the state".
On December 3rd, 2009, members of the Presidential Guard attempted to assassinate Captain Camara, who has since then been flown to a hospital in Rabat, Morocco to be treated for a head wound. The junta claims Camara is alive and well, but the political opposition is demanding more details regarding his health.