A young man was shot dead Monday in Conakry when an opposition march behind the coffins of Guineans killed in recent protests escalated into violent clashes with law enforcement.
Six other participants in this march were injured by police bullets in the last bout of deadly violence to shake the country, the opposition said.
Guinea, a small country of 13 million inhabitants, poor despite significant mineral resources, is rife since October 14th in an intense contest against the possibility of a third term of President Alpha Condé.
About 15 protesters have been killed since then, according to the opposition, dozens more have been wounded, dozens arrested and tried. A policeman also died. The authorities do not communicate on the human toll of this violence.
In a customary country of protests and brutal repressions, the funeral of eleven protesters who had been dead for three weeks but whose authorities had detained the remains until then promised to be a risky rendezvous. The National Front for the Defense of the Constitution (FNDC), which leads the movement, intended to turn these funerals into a « funeral march » for the disappeared and against President Alpha Conde.
Hundreds of Guineans, including relatives and opposition figures, marched on foot or by motorbike in the neighborhood of Bambeto behind the coffins draped in the national flag red, yellow and green and worn on the shoulder.
From the procession stood the slogans « Justice for the dead » and « Alpha, assassin ». The clashes erupted on the way, marked out by police pick-ups, between the hospital, where the families and the opposition had recovered the bodies, and the mosque, where the prayer was planned before the burial.
In dense smoke from burning tires, dense groups of young people dressed in many of the red colors of the opposition stoned the police, police and gendarmes on foot. They responded with tear gas and riot fire, but also with live ammunition, according to several testimonies.
Condé maintains the blur
Abdourahim Diallo, 17, was shot in the stomach and succumbed to his injuries at the hospital when he came to « attend the funeral of his friend killed two weeks ago, » said his sister AFP Diariana. According to his sister, he was killed by a « point-blank » firearm.
According to the opposition, the authorities had made sure that the procession stayed away from the center of Conakry. She had surrendered the bodies only Monday morning at the Sino-Guinean Friendship Hospital, not far from the cemetery where they were to be buried.
The FNDC, a coalition of opposition parties, unions and members of civil society, originally planned the march last Wednesday. But the authorities had announced at the last moment that they would not restore the bodies immediately because autopsies, according to them, were in progress.
We do not know the result. This is « to clarify the exact causes (of) deaths » and to identify responsibilities, says the Ministry of Health.
President Condé himself claimed that it is the protesters themselves who are shooting to put the dead « on the back » of the government. He denounces a « putschist » opposition. The authorities say they are only defending public safety.
Human rights defenders denounce excessive use of force by the government, arbitrary arrests and repression aimed at reducing opposition to silence.
The opposition accused of drifting « dictatorial » the former historical opponent who was the first democratically elected president in 2010, re-elected in 2015, after decades of authoritarian and military regimes. There is no doubt for her that Mr. Condé intends to revise the Constitution to support a third presidential term in 2020 while the current text limits the number to two.
At the age of 81, Mr. Condé neither confirms nor denies the intentions attributed to him.