Plans moved ahead today for an international commission of inquiry into last month’s violent crackdown on unarmed demonstrators in Guinea, in which at least 150 people were killed and many others raped, as a senior United Nations political official continued his talks in the region.
Assistant Secretary-General for Political Affairs Haile Menkerios left the Guinean capital, Conakry, for Ouagadougou in nearby Burkina Faso for talks with President Blaise Compaoré in his capacity as the mediator mandated by the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) to look into the issue.
Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon announced last week that he would set up the commission to investigate the crackdown by security forces on 28 September in Conakry “with a view to determining the accountability of those involved,” sending Mr. Menkerios to prepare the ground.
Mr. Ban said he “remains deeply concerned by the tense situation in Guinea” and UN High Commissioner for Human Rights Navi Pillay has called the crackdown a “blood bath.”
In Conakry yesterday, Mr. Menkerios met with Captain Moussa Dadis Camara, the head of the National Council for Democracy and Development (NCDD), and also with the Prime Minister and the entire Cabinet. He consulted with representatives of political parties, civil society organizations and trade unions as well.
There was broad support for the commission among Guinean stakeholders, and Captain Camara, who seized power in a coup d’état in December after the death of then president Lansana Conté, invited it to begin work as soon as possible to help establish the truth about what took place on 28 September, a UN spokesperson said in New York.
Before that, Mr. Menkerios was in Abuja, Nigeria, where he met with a range of regional leaders, including ECOWAS Commission President Mohamed ibn Chambas, African Union (AU) Peace and Security Commissioner Ramtane Lamamra, and AU Chairman Jean Ping. The AU and ECOWAS Summit have welcomed Mr. Ban’s decision to set up the commission and pledged their full support.