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Human Rights in the Mano River Union: politics from a Tribal Dimension

Human Rights in the Mano River Union: politics from a Tribal Dimension

The civil and political unrest in Guinea, especially in recent times, left scores of people homeless and countless dead.

Guinea, a small country in the West African sub region that shares a boundary with Sierra Leone and Liberia among other countries, has experienced a number of political unrest. Since the country gained independence, it only enjoyed one democratic election which saw the late President Lansana Conte as President. But for the better part of the country’s political history, it has always been managed by soldiers. This was the case, following the death of Lansana Conte.  (Photo: The political unrest in Guinea left many in pain and anguish)

Captain Dadis Camara succeeded Lansana Conte in a bloodless coup. This meant abuse to human rights and other democratic credentials especially for Alpha Yahyah Lee. After the Dadis coup plot, Lee and others decided to form a human rights group called Guineans United for Democracy, and they started campaigning against the juntas through radio stations and meetings with communities. During the 28 September 2009 political upheaval in Guinea, most of Lee’s members were slaughtered in cold blood by the red berets.

Many were killed due to political unrest

Many were killed due to political unrest

Since the civil unrest took an ethnic perspective, members of Berse ethnic group, who are also called the forest people in the community of Conkercer started to clamp down on other ethnic groups especially the Fullahs, to which Lee belongs. His senior brother was attacked, and his close relatives raided because of Yahyah Lee’s opposition to the junta regime.

Weeks later his brother, Tejan Lee, was killed and dumped in one of the fields in the area. Since then, Alpha Yayah Lee a human rights activist and vocal critic of the junta has been in hiding for fear of revenge on him by members of the ethnic group of Dadis and supporters. This has created concern among Human Right Activists in the Mano River Union which is struggling to cultivate democratic ideals and values among member states. According to our reports from Guinea, the International community should be jittery about unfolding events, especially after the death of seven members of Cellou Diallo, party who are mostly Fullahs. The fear is that if contestants fail to accept the outcome of the elections schedule for August, the country can be torn apart by civil strive which may take tribal dimensions.

By Alfred Kargbo

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