Clashes between Muslims and Christians in the south-eastern part of Guinea have entered their third day. Mobs of people armed with machetes and knives went on the rampage attacking each other in what was first thought to be a religious conflict. But the situation has taken a new twist as the center of the turmoil is the birth town of exiled Junta leader, Moussa Dadis Camara. The Guinea leader is currently in Burkina Faso after an agreement was reached to return the country to a civilian-led administration. The ICC recently expressed its intention to start investigations on the September 28 massacre which left 157 people dead. The Junta was accused by human rights organisation of crimes against humanity.
It appears that the problem was sparked by a religious dispute and there are fears the dispute may become politicised. Reports coming out of the country states that that mostly Christian supporters of Camara appeared to be attacking Muslims in the town. At least one person had been killed in clashes that had taken place despite a curfew being imposed. There were reports of gunfire for much of Saturday. The shooting started again late on Sunday after a small break and many injured people were being taken to hospital. Soldiers are firing warning shots to try to disperse the crowds. According to reports, the dispute degenerated into violence last week after a Christian woman, accused of wearing indecent dress while passing Muslims at prayer, was attacked. In retaliation, Christians stoned Muslims trying to pray.
The local people there have been angered by the sidelining from power of Camara. The Junta leader is a member of one of the minority Forestier ethnic groups of the region. A few weeks ago this press urged the ICC not to pursue criminal investigations against the Junta at this sensitive moment, and this outcome was predicted. But there are reports that the ICC is sending a delegation to the country as we go to press. The politics of Africa is often misunderstood, and time and again, this has led to regrettable bloodshed and pandemonium. The international community should allow common sense to prevail as any conflict in Guinea has the potential to spread right across the region.
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