58 killed as Guinean soldiers open fire at rally

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The Independent Online

At least 58 people were killed when Guinean security forces fired into the crowd at an opposition rally at a football stadium yesterday, according to a human rights organisation in the country.

Witnesses said several prominent opposition leaders were arrested and protesters were injured in violence that began when thousands of people took to the streets and met in the stadium despite a massive security operation by the authorities. Opposition parties had organized the protest in the main football stadium in the capital Conakry, which drew some 50,000 people. Soldiers wearing the red berets of the presidential guard later entered the stadium and fired into the crowd.

"At one hospital alone, we have counted 58 bodies," Thierno Maadjou Sow, president of the Guinean Human Rights Organisation said. "It seems there are many more corpses in (the other hospital)," he said.

The violence is the worst in the country since military ruler Captain Moussa Dadis Camara seized power in 2008, hours after the death of longtime dictator Lansana Conte. He has recently said he has the right to run in forthcoming elections if he chooses, which has angered opposition leaders.