30 Sep 2009

Scores killed in Guinea protest

6:46 am on 30 September 2009

Scores of people have been killed in the West African country of Guinea when troops opened fire on opposition protesters on Monday.

A human rights group, the Guinean Organisation for Defence of Human Rights, put the toll at 157 people killed and more than 1,200 wounded, although this has not been corroborated, the BBC reports.

Police had earlier said 87 people had died, but local activists say hospital sources confirmed a much higher toll.

Human rights groups say they have had reports of soldiers bayoneting people and women being raped in the streets during the protest.

Junta head Captain Moussa Dadis Camara denied knowledge of sexual assaults, but admitted that some of his security forces had lost control.

French Foreign Minister Bernard Kouchner said France was suspending military ties with Guinea after the crackdown on opposition protesters, AFP reports, while the United Nations, African Union and European Union all expressed alarm over the killings.

About 50,000 people were protesting over rumours that Capt Camara intends to run for president in an election scheduled for next January.

But soldiers moved in to quell the rally using tear gas and baton charges and firing live ammunition into the crowds.