CONAKRY, Guinea (AP) — One person was killed in Guinea’s capital during protests against fuel price hikes, the first demonstration since the junta seized control in September in the West African nation, according to opposition leaders and witnesses.
The young man was shot dead Wednesday at nightfall in Hamdallaye, a suburb of the capital Conakry that is considered to be a stronghold of opposition parties and junta critics.
“We demonstrated all day against the announcement by the Ministry of Economy and Finance of an increase in the price of a liter of fuel,” protester Amadou Diouma Diallo told The Associated Press. “During the day, the riot police used tear gas to disperse us. There was calm. Then at night, the demonstrations resumed. The police came to fire warning shots,” killing one young man.
“We called the Red Cross to come and get the body, but they couldn’t come,” said Idrissa Kanté, another protester.
The National Front for the Defense of the Constitution, a coalition of civil society groups that oppose the junta, accused the defense and security forces of using live ammunition.
“The bloody repression of the demonstrations by the defense and security forces contrasts with Col. Doumbouya’s takeover speech, in which he castigated the (previous government’s) killings of demonstrators and who had pledged not to commit the same,” the groups said.
The Ministry of Security and Civilian Protection, retired Gen. Bachir Diallo, said the government offers its condolences to the victims and relatives of those who died.
“I strongly condemn the actions that led to deaths,” he said, adding that he has spoken with the director-general of the police to get answers.
Diallo told the media Thursday that shooting protesters “is not related to the logic of change” wanted by the current president.
“The culprits will be punished at all levels,” he promised.
Guinea’s former President Alpha Conde was overthrown in a coup d’etat in September by a military junta that now leads the West African country. The head of the military junta, Col. Mamady Doumbouya, says a return to civilian, democratic rule could take more than three years.