Clinton: Guinea's Military Leaders Should Step Down

[Strong trigger warning.]

Last week, in a rampage that got next to no media coverage in the US, Guinean soldiers in Conakry went completely haywire at a protest rally formed in opposition to Guinea's military government led by Captain Moussa Dadis Camara, who seized power in a coup last December. Dozens of people were killed in the brutally violent melee, and hundreds were wounded.

And women were particularly targeted for torture and humiliation, their clothes torn off, their bodies violated with fingers, hands, penises, rifles, gang-raped in the streets by marauding soldiers. I was, quite honestly, sobbing as I read the accounts of what happened there.

I was all set to recommend emailing our Secretary of State to urge action—but she is already on the case. (Emphasis mine.)
U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton said on Tuesday Guinea's military leaders should quit after soldiers went on a rampage at a protest rally, killing more than 150 people and raping women.

"We were appalled and outraged by the recent violence in Guinea," Clinton said during a news conference with Pakistan's foreign minister. "The indiscriminate killing and raping ... by government troops was a vile violation of the rights of the people of that country."

…"The leadership of Guinea owe a profound apology to the people, who had gathered in peaceful protest against the military takeover," she said. "They owe not only that apology in words, but in a recognition that they cannot remain in power, that they must turn back to the people the right to choose their own leaders."

Clinton said U.S. diplomats had spoken to Guinea's leaders in the "strongest possible terms." The State Department said U.S. officials had expressed "deep outrage" and "condemned the massacre and egregious human rights violations."

…Clinton said she was particularly appalled by the violence against women.

"In broad daylight in a stadium, it was criminality to the greatest degree," she said. "Those who committed such acts should not be given any reason to expect that they will escape justice."
Clinton noted that the US will take action against Camara's regime if he does not abide by the African Union's demand that he stay out of a January election or face sanctions. Additionally, Assistant Secretary of State for African Affairs Johnnie Carson and Deputy Assistant Secretary of State William Fitzgerald have "urged Camara to restore order, control his troops, and allow an international investigation."

Because I just need to do something when I read about a situation like this, and because I know there are other Shakers who feel the same, I am recommending making a donation to Doctors Without Borders, who are treating rape victims of the attack in Guinea.

A note of thanks to our Secretary of State may be in order, too.

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