Guinea’s leading opposition group on Monday said over 90 people have been killed in a crackdown on protests against President Alpha Conde’s bid to seek a controversial third term in the upcoming elections, reported Aljazeera.
The 82-year-old is seeking for re-election on October 18, after pushing through a constitutional referendum in March that critics claim was designed to sidestep a two-term limit in the West African country. The referendum has reset the two-term presidential limit to zero.
Opposition to a third Conde term and its supporters has been organizing mass protests in the country since mid-October last year. The protests have often turned violent, however, and dozens have been killed.
On Monday, the anti-Conde coalition, the National Front for the Defence of the Constitution (FNDC), published a tally of 92 protesters killed since the start of the protests. According to the tally, some 45 of those protesters were shot dead, and eight remain unidentified.
Guinea’s Security Minister Albert Damantang Camara dismissed the FNDC tally. He said that he refused to submit to a politically motivated “macabre accounting”.
“There have been violent deaths, which we regret, and we are working to ensure that this does not happen again,” he told the AFP news agency.
However, the minister refused to accept that 92 of the protesters have been killed in Guinea’s protests. He admitted that political clashes may be responsible for 42 deaths, but said there was not enough evidence to attribute them to security forces.
Earlier this month, International human rights group, Amnesty International, published a report in which it blamed Guinean security forces for the deaths of at least 50 protesters between October 2019 and July 2020 in the West African state and urged the government to hold the perpetrators accountable.
Last week, the United Nations expressed alarm at ethnically charged hate speech rising in Guinea in the lead-up to the polls, warning the situation is extremely dangerous and may lead to violence.