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Violence during funeral march in Guinea leaves two dead3 min read

Violence during funeral march in Guinea leaves two dead

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Violence during funeral march in Guinea leaves two dead
People carries away a wounded protester after a clashed with Guineans anti-riot police during the funeral after the last street protests. (Photo by CELLOU BINANI / AFP)

Two youths were shot dead and several other people were wounded in clashes between Guinean police and protesters at a funeral march for those killed in recent anti-government demonstrations, the authorities and the family of one of the victims said.

Violence erupted as hundreds marched in the capital Conakry carrying coffins of people killed in unrest since mid-October that has shaken the country.

Demonstrators have taken to the streets over suspicions that President Alpha Conde is seeking to prolong his rule. 

According to an opposition toll, around 15 protesters have been killed during the weeks of bloody clashes with security forces, with dozens injured. The government has said one police officer was killed, but have not given an updated number of casualties. 

At Monday’s march, hundreds of people including relatives and opposition figures marched on foot or by motorbike through the Bambeto neighbourhood, bearing aloft the coffins of 11 of those killed since October 24 draped in the national flag.

The marchers chanted “Justice for the dead” and “Alpha, killer” as they made their way from the hospital where victims’ remains had been held and a mosque where pre-burial prayers were planned.

Violence during funeral march in Guinea leaves two dead
People carry coffins during the funeral after the last street protests and unrest that resulted in nine deaths in Conakry, on November 4, 2019. (Photo by CELLOU BINANI / AFP)

Clashes broke out on the route, with youths hurling stones at riot police who responded with tear gas. Witnesses said they also fired live rounds into the crowd. 

Abdourahim Diallo, 17, was shot in the stomach at “point-blank” range when he went to attend the funeral of a friend who was killed two weeks ago, his sister Diariana told reporters. She said he died of his injuries in hospital.

The security ministry subsequently said that a second youth had died.

Mass protests –

According to the opposition, the authorities had tried to ensure the funeral procession did not go through central Conakry. 

The National Front for the Defence of the Constitution (FNDC), an alliance of opposition groups that is behind the protests, had planned the funeral march last week.

But authorities had kept the bodies until Monday morning, saying autopsies were ongoing. 

Conde has blamed the protesters for the gunfire and accused the opposition of trying to overthrow the government. 

The 81-year-old, whose second term ends next year, launched constitutional consultations in September, saying the country’s basic law “concentrates corporate interests” and needed reform.

READ: 1 killed, 4 injured in Guinea protest

Protesters set up barricades during the funeral after the last street protests and unrest that resulted in nine deaths in Conakry, on November 4, 2019.
Protesters set up barricades during the funeral after the last street protests and unrest that resulted in deaths in Conakry, on November 4, 2019. (Photo by CELLOU BINANI / AFP)

But his adversaries say the president will try to push through an amendment allowing him to seek a third term in the nation of 13 million.

He has neither confirmed nor denied his intention to seek a third term in elections due in 2020.

The government has said at least eight protesters and the police officer have been killed since October 14, when opposition parties, unions and civil society groups mobilised.

Hundreds of thousands took to the streets on October 24, according to local journalists, while organisers put the turnout at around a million, and the government said the protesters numbered 30,000.

Conde, a former opposition figure who was jailed and spent time in exile under Guinea’s previous authoritarian regimes, became the country’s first democratically elected President in 2010.

But critics say his rule has become increasingly authoritarian. About 100 demonstrators have been shot dead by police since he came to power, according to the opposition.

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Nigerian forces release fire in the air to stop protest

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NIGERIA-POLITICS
People demonstrate to demand the release of activist and opposition politician Omoyele Sowore(Photo by Kola Sulaimon / AFP)

Nigerian security forces used tear gas and fired in the air on Tuesday to disperse protesters seeking the release of an opposition figure held since August after calling for a revolution.

Omoyele Sowore, the founder of local news site Sahara Reporters and a candidate in February’s presidential polls has been detained for “treason.”

At the end of September, the Nigerian judiciary ordered his release but the authorities have not complied. 

About 80 protesters gathered outside the headquarters of the Department of State Services (DSS) in the capital Abuja, shouting slogans against President Muhammadu Buhari, a journalist said.

Nigerian forces release fire in the air to stop protest
(Photo by Kola Sulaimon / AFP)

Some 50 heavily armed DSS agents confronted the demonstrators on bikes and in armoured trucks firing tear gas and shooting in the air, the reporter said, adding that they also attacked one journalist. 

Some sustained injuries after being trampled by demonstrators fleeing the scene.

The government of Buhari — who was re-elected this year — has accused Sowore and his “Revolution Now” movement of “plotting to destabilise Nigeria.”

Sowore, who came tenth in the polls and has been a virulent critic of the government, has drawn the ire of Nigerian authorities.

In August, Sahara Reporters, which regularly reports on government corruption, had called for nationwide protests against misrule in Nigeria.  

Two days ahead of the planned protest, he was arrested on August 5 and has been in detention since.

Nigerian forces release fire in the air to stop protest
(Photo by Kola Sulaimon / AFP)

The government’s handling of his case has sparked criticism from rights activists and prominent Nigerians, including Nobel laureate Wole Soyinka, as well as rights groups like Amnesty International.

Last week, according to local media reports, a spokesperson for the DSS admitted the agency had received a court order for Sowore’s release but said it was detaining him “because no person has turned up at the DSS to take delivery of him.”

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Politics

Alpha Conde approves February parliamentary elections in Guinea

The date for the vote was unveiled by the electoral commission on, but it had to be approved by the head of state

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President Alpha Conde of Guinea has confirmed that parliamentary elections will be held in February, despite violent protests over suspicions that he wants to prolong his rule.

“Guinean citizens of voting age and duly listed on the electoral roll of the present year are called to the ballot boxes for the legislative elections on February 16, 2020,” a presidential decree read out on state television said late Monday.

The date for the vote was unveiled by the electoral commission on Saturday, but it had to be approved by the head of state and political uncertainty still hangs over the poll after previous delays.

The nation has been shaken by violence during weeks of demonstrations over opposition suspicions that Conde is seeking a third term in office, banned by the constitution.

Elected for five years, Guinea’s current parliament began work in January 2014.

As a result, the next election is months overdue but has been delayed by political clashes and technical concerns.

The electoral commission previously suggested the voting date of December 28.

But this was rejected by the opposition as unrealistic and part of an alleged plot by Conde to alter the constitution enabling him to run for a third term in office. 

The International Organisation of Francophonie (OIF) – the French-speaking counterpart of the Commonwealth – also said the date should be “reconsidered”.

Electoral commission chairman Amadou Salif Kebe on Saturday said that Guinea had acquired the necessary voting materials, adding that a review of the electoral roll had begun.

Opposition parties, trade unions and representatives of civil society have urged citizens to oppose any bid for a third term by Conde, who has ruled since December 2010. A new demonstration has been called for Thursday.

At least 16 civilians and a paramilitary policeman have been killed since October 14. Dozens of people have been wounded and dozens more arrested.

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East Africa Politics News

Kenya, Lesotho Strengthen Bilateral Ties with Three Agreements

In an effort to boost bilateral ties and cooperation between the two African nations, Kenya and the Kingdom of Lesotho have today signed three key pacts; an agreement on the establishment of a Joint Commission for Cooperation (JCC), a Memorandum of Understanding for Bilateral consultations as well as a Memorandum of Understanding in the Field of Sports.

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In an effort to boost bilateral ties and cooperation between the two African nations, Kenya and the Kingdom of Lesotho have today signed three key pacts; an agreement on the establishment of a Joint Commission for Cooperation (JCC), a Memorandum of Understanding for Bilateral consultations as well as a Memorandum of Understanding in the Field of Sports.

The agreement on the establishment of a JCC will enable the two countries to identify and explore areas of cooperation while the MOU on sports will provide an opportunity for development of sports as an economic activity. The agreement on Bilateral Consultations on the other hand, will pave the way for the two countries to hold consultations on both bilateral and multilateral matters affecting the two countries at regional, continental and global levels.

The deals were signed at the end of talks held between President Uhuru Kenyatta and the Right Hon. Dr Motsoahae Thomas Thabane, Prime Minister of the Kingdom of Lesotho, at the State House, Nairobi.

Prime Minister Thabane arrived in Nairobi last evening for a three-day state visit and was formally received today morning by his host, President Kenyatta at a colourful ceremony that included a guard of honour mounted by a detachment of the Kenya Army and a 19-gun salute.

During his visit, Prime Minister Thabane will lay a wreath at the Mausoleum of Kenya’s founding father, Mzee Jomo Kenyatta as well as visit the United Nations complex in Gigiri among other engagements.

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