Neighborhoods along this Conakry highway experienced a brief lull after the September 5 coup. But in the past three months, demonstrations and operations by the security forces have again shaped the lives of their residents.
From our correspondent in Conakry,
The security force pickups are back on Axis. A year ago, when the CNRD took power, the noose was loosened. Overnight, the junta had dismantled the PAs, the “support points”, which in the protesting districts concentrated personnel always ready to be mobilized.
Since June, the 30 km of Le Prince road, from Hamdallaye to Kagbelen, have been put under close surveillance. “We have to secure Conakry”, justifies Colonel Mory Kaba. It is not precisely Aksen that is involved, says the police spokesman. In the southern suburbs of Conakry, “from Coléah to Kilometer 36, you will find positions where army vehicles are parked. This is part of a security plan for the city of Conakry that we have initiated. But some people like to make themselves victims,” the leader tackles.
Speaking just after his coup on September 5, 2021, Mamadi Doumbouya lamented: “There were many deaths for nothing, many injuries, many tears.” Reference to the bloody suppression of the demonstrations under his predecessor Alpha Conde. In the past three months, at least nine people have been shot dead during operations by security forces linked to protest movements, according to the tally by the National Front for the Defense of the Constitution (FNDC). More and more testimonies are pouring in reporting the use of lethal weapons on the Axis.
The Ministry of Security’s communications officer assures: “Maintaining order in the Republic of Guinea is not done with firearms. Whether it is the police or the gendarmes, no one comes to the field with such weapons. He tries an explanation. During the demonstrations “there are bandits who can exploit it to to blockade and deprive the inhabitants of their property If they encounter any element of a clothed body who wants to go home, it may happen that the latter uses his weapon, but this is not part of maintaining order.
“A rebel attack” An Axis family almost fell in terror 5th of September. On the facade of his house, a hole four centimeters in diameter. A young mother and her daughter-in-law sit on either side on plastic chairs. On the terrace, they see the rain, which has been falling continuously since the beginning of the afternoon, covering the landscape with an icy veil. After the house begins the shallow water, its lush vegetation and its stream full of debris. No bitumen here, the nearest road is a hundred meters away, up the hill.
This is where the protesters arrived at 2:20 p.m., says Amadou *, 20, with Swiss clockwork precision. The high school student remembers it well because he had just come home for lunch. “It was total panic. Here we are not used to hearing it, these gunshots. It was like an insurgent attack. It fired continuously. As “children” gather around his house, he tells them to “leave” as “the soldiers ” coming. “I saw a man dressed in green, stopped over there, on the other side,” he said, pointing to a point 50 m away. “He hid his face before he fired. When he raised the gun, I crouched down. The bullet pierces the cinder block behind him. He’s surprised by the shock wave. It’s like a flame that’s going to lick his hand. More gusts of wind.
A few meters away, his little sister collapses. Awa*, 16, shows the bandage that eats part of his shoulder blade. The projectile came out under the armpit. Maryam* was eight months pregnant and was shot in the thigh. Despite the damage and the shock, the ultrasound she just had shows that her baby is fine.” I am very angry with the state. It tires us, its people. Especially on the Axis, we suffer a lot. I’m not sure. The police came to my house and shot me. I am very scared. I’m afraid they’ll come back and do more damage.”
But there is no doubt for the family to file a complaint against the state. “You can’t do anything against him”, torments Amadou, who condemns the impunity, the absence of justice. “It’s not going to bring us anything but reprisals…” During the interview, the young man ended up relaxing. There comes a time when he can’t help but smile. He is relieved, aware of having been close to disaster. Still, he thought he was safe in his neighborhood. “No one ever demonstrates here. To demonstrate it would already be necessary to have roads to block…”
“As in the days of Alpha” In May, the CNRD announced the ban onall events on a public road”. A measure to remain in force “until the election campaign periods”. Accused of committing “acts of violence”, of attacking those who do not share his ideology, of carrying out “targeted actions against the forces of law and order”, FNDC has been disbanded on August 6 by the government. That did not stop the civil society movement, which had led the opposition to Alpha Condé’s third term, from repeatedly calling on people to take to the streets to demand a return to the constitutional order. 17 August and no later than 5 September.
These demonstrations, which the organization wanted to be “peaceful and civil”, each time ended in violence, giving rise to clashes between groups of young people and the police, mainly on the axis. More than twenty officers were injured, some seriously, since June, the police spokesman said.
A young man crossing near the Bambeto roundabout pulls a gray card and an insurance receipt out of his pocket. That’s all he has left of his bike. He has scratches on his arms, legs and stomach. “A policeman hit me.”
On September 5, around 5:30 p.m., while carrying his older sister, he was chased by a pick-up truck and ended up falling. Hassan* is released a little further away, semi-conscious, without his motorbike, relieved of his money and his mobile phone. He, who works as a taxi, tried to go to the gendarmerie to get his work tool back, but without success, he is still untraceable. “I didn’t think it would start again like in the days of Alpha,” laments Hassan.
Mohammed* is also a motorcycle taxi. He tells of an attack by air force soldiers on Bambeto on 8 September. The gendarmes accompanying them seized three two-wheeled vehicles and demanded payment of 400,000 Guinean francs, about 50 euros, to return them to their owners. “It’s a scam, theft, extortion. We give full powers to the security forces and they abuse them.”
Similar cases exist, recognizes Colonel Mory Kaba. To put an end to it, he encourages victims to report this behavior using the two toll-free numbers, 117 for the police and 122 for the gendarmerie. “If we are informed, we will make arrangements immediately.” In Bambeto, Mohammed is in a low mood: “We hoped that things would change, there was hope [après le coup d’État, ndlr]but that changed, the evil spirits came back.”
*Names have been changed
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