Monday, May 14, 2007

Guinean soldiers engage in orgy of rioting, looting

Disaffected soldiers in Guinea have erupted in an orgy of rioting and looting in recent weeks.

Soldiers claim that wages have been withheld since 1996, when an army mutiny-cum-attempted coup costs hundreds of lives, and wants the re-integration of troops who were sacked after those events.

Over the weekend, soldiers went on the rampage in Conakry, causing panic in the capital.


The head of state, Gen. Lansana Conté, conceded to the demands of the mutineers by sacking the army chief and the defense minister. But troops continued to run amock.

On Saturday evening IRIN [news service] saw soldiers robbing civilians in Conakry and looting shops and warehouses. Witnesses said men in army uniforms stole vehicles and looted cacao, rice and sugar, as well electrical equipment such as generators.

Witness also said soldiers were responsible for a raid on UNFPA’s [UN Population Fund] stores, stealing stocks of condoms as well as computer equipment. UN facilities were also targeted during a civil uprising earlier this year when World Food Programme warehouses in several towns were looted.


After some of the rioting, some salary arrears and promotions were handed out, yet the violence continued.

While there is little love lost for the corrupt thugocracy of Gen. Conté, the soldiers' actions is deplorable. The insecurity forces killed over 100 peaceful protesters during the January-February general strike and now they have the unmitigated audacity to demand better pay and working conditions after their brutal aggressions against the Guinean people.

Why not take their frustrations out on the presidential palace or the head of state's cabal rather than ordinary Guineans? I hope these soldiers are soon sharing prison cell with Conté.


Update: Guinéenews reports that the raiding of the UN Population Fund's warehouses resulted in over $326,000 in losses!

1 Comments:

At 12:58 PM, Blogger sokari said...

Reviewed in Last Week's Pambazuka News

 

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