Guinea dissolves main opposition group amid political unrest

Guinea’s junta-appointed government has dissolved the country’s main opposition movement, the National Front for the Defense of the Constitution (FNDC), under a decree authenticated by AFP on Tuesday.

An alliance of political parties, trade unions and civil groups, the FNDC spearheaded protests against former President Alpha Condé before his overthrow in a coup last year.

Friction has been growing for months between the FNDC and the junta, culminating in the announcement on Monday by the coalition that it would organize demonstrations on August 17.

A decree, dated Saturday, pronounces the dissolution of the FNDC, signed by the Minister of Territorial Administration Mory Condé. It was authenticated by AFP on Tuesday.

“The de facto group called National Front for the Defense of the Constitution, is dissolved (…) with effect from the date of signature”, indicates the judgment.

Rumors about the executive order had spread on social media on Monday evening.

According to her, “the modus operandi of the FNDC is based on violent attacks (perpetrated) during prohibited demonstrations, attacks against individuals who do not share their ideology and targeted attacks against the security forces”.

The organization has “the behavior of combat groups and private militias… threatening national unity, public peace and cohabitation”, he said.

Unstable Rich in minerals but deeply poor, the West African state has seen little stability since its independence from France in 1958.

In 2010, Condé, now 84, became the country’s first democratically elected president.

But his popularity plunged during his second term as critics accused him of authoritarianism and opposition protests were violently suppressed.

Dozens of people died, the overwhelming majority of them civilians, during demonstrations launched by the FNDC.

On September 5, as anger mounted over Condé’s successful bid for a third term – a move he was defending on the grounds of changing the constitution – the mutinous troops rebelled.

Junta strongman Mamady Doumbouya has pledged to return power to elected civilians within three years.

The timing has brought the junta into conflict with the region’s bloc, the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS).

ECOWAS President Bissau-Guinean President Umaro Sissoco Embalo said late last month that he had convinced the junta to shorten the transition to two years. But this figure has not been confirmed by Guinea.

Cellou Dalein Diallo, a leading opposition figure under Condé, condemned the decision to dissolve the FNDC, calling it a “blow to freedom, justice, democracy and peace” in a published message on social networks.

Protests Protests erupted in Guinea on July 28 and 29 over fears the junta was dragging its feet in restoring civilian rule, leaving five people dead.

The FNDC on Monday called for nationwide protests on August 17 to denounce the lack of “credible dialogue” and the use of deadly weapons against protesters. The organization also calls for the release of imprisoned supporters.

The coalition’s communications officer, Abdoulaye Oumou Sow, declined to comment on the dissolution order on Tuesday.

But the Guinean Organization for the Defense of Human Rights (OGDH) separately warned that “confiscating civil liberties or silencing all dissenting voices will only complicate the situation”.

He said he was “very concerned (…) by the turn of events”.

Two FNDC leaders, Oumar Sylla and Ibrahima Diallo, were jailed after protests in July.

They were charged with participating in an unlawful assembly, destroying property and causing bodily harm.

The organization suspended its activities for a week, including a demonstration scheduled for August 4, in response to an appeal for calm issued by ECOWAS on August 1.


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