By Carol ValadePosted on 28-09-2019Modified on 28-09-2019 at 05:02
On 28 September 2009, the defense and security forces, some in civilian clothes, storm Conakry stadium, where several thousand people are gathered to challenge the ruling military junta. At least 156 people are killed, 1,400 wounded and 109 women raped according to the UN. Families were able to recover only 67 bodies. Nearly a hundred are missing. 10 years later, RFI went back on the track of these missing, forgotten by justice. Investigation.
The two men rush into the breach and disappear under the wall of the military camp. We are waiting for them in the car not to attract attention. Long minutes go by. The residents of Yibamaya neighborhood are familiar with this passage which allows them to cross the military aviation ground and avoid paying a collective taxi to reach the market.
They say that a common grave is on the other side of the wall. It would contain the bodies of demonstrators who died at the Conakry stadium on September 28, 2009 , but also other victims of the junta and the repression carried out by the previous regimes. Many episodes of violence fill the history of contemporary Guinea.
We finally see the two white boubous in the rearview mirror, the old Peugeot starts painfully. We drive a few meters in silence. The images they present on their phones are a bit disappointing: a vast vacant lot invaded by vegetation. Ten years already and we are at the end of the rainy season. Nature has regained its rights.
Their story, on the other hand, is edifying. The days following the massacre, they say, the neighborhood is cordoned off by the military. Locals complain about the back and forth of military trucks, and smells of putrefaction.
A resident who has since moved testifies: " When I got home at night, I found dozens of pickups, one of them was open and I saw the bodies inside ". According to the UN, dozens of bodies have been transported from hospitals and military camps, an unknown destination.
Four potential sites
Luckily, the guardian did not close the gate of the neighborhood cemetery. Here there are no plaques or gravestones, just some scrub and mounds of fresh earth. Witnesses interviewed by Human Rights Watch say they witnessed the night burial of about 20 bodies. In 2016, the human rights NGO conducts the investigation and identifies four potential sites: the air base, the Yimbaya cemetery, Cosa-rails and Hafya. But his report has never been made public.
" The issue is very sensitive ," said Corinne Dufka, West Africa official at Human Rights Watch. There was a risk that the evidence would be destroyed and some feared that this information would further slow down the investigation . "
In another confidential report, a local NGO points to Hamdallaye Cemetery 1 and Camp Alpha Yaya. Other sources mention the roundabout of Tannery or around Mount Kakoulima. But the testimonies are contradictory and the information parcellaires. Three weeks after the massacre, a soldier of the presidential guard confirmed the existence of mass graves, evoking the figure of 47 bodies on RFI.
An incomplete mourning
How many are there in all? Human Rights Watch and the UN agree on a minimum of 156 casualties. On October 2, about fifty bodies, some in a state of advanced decomposition, are presented on the esplanade of the great mosque of Conakry. In total, 7 bodies were given to families, 89 remain unaccounted for leaving behind relatives unfinished mourning.
Some are grouped in the Association of Missing Families . Abdourahmane Soumah was at the stadium with his brother, Ishmael, who had not been found since. Within the small group he is the only one to have attempted to conduct research. " I took the courage to go as far as Kassa [Kassa island in the Loos archipelago a few minutes from the capital's canoe NDLR] to check the reports that bodies had been transported there ," he says. -t it. Once there, a resident drove me to the camp. He said, "You know, camp is camp, I can get you in, but are you coming out?" I thought for a few minutes and turned around. "
All witnesses say they fear reprisals. " I can faint at the sight of a uniform, " says Nouhou Barry, brother of a missing man and himself seriously injured at the stadium. " The main defendants still occupy high positions and move freely, sirens out, " says Asmaou Diallo, president of AVIPA *. " I did not want to finish like the others, " says a witness who chose exile.
Bailo lost his father at the stadium " he went to work like every morning. When I called him around 11 am, a man brutally replied "your father is dead" before hanging up . Later, a parent informs her that her identity card was found in the effects of a lifeless body, thrown off the tide on a beach in Sierra Leone. The young man can not afford to check.
" Without body impossible to complete our mourning, explains a survivor. Even today my aunt keeps the personal effects of her son while waiting for his return. The missing are the forgotten of September 28, she continues. The victims, the wounded can testify, but we have no document to attest to our loss. Without a certificate, it does not exist, and without proof there will be no justice ".
A stadium cleaned and repainted
" The authorities [at the time EdLR] engaged in a logic of destruction of traces of violations committed to conceal the facts, " said the UN commission of inquiry. Two days after the tragedy, the stadium is cleaned and repainted.
But accurate information exists. The sister of a missing person went to the scene of a suspected burial. " The guard gave me all the details, but he was terrified to testify. Would she agree to return? " Without any problem if I know that my safety is assured, for now, this is not the case. "
" All this information was sent to justice in August 2016, " said Corinne Dufka, adding that the UN has even proposed to send a team of forensic expertise. The current Minister of Justice, Mohammed Lamine Fofana, says he is not aware of this information, but the "disappeared" are not yet fully aware of it.
* Parents and Friends Victims Association September 28, 2009
Why are we singing? It is to have the conviction to be even stronger than the silence and live days and even better days. As the song says.
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