Guinea – Military intervention not the best of options
Sierra Leone should be the best of examples when it comes to narrating the effect of a bloody civil war, and the effect that military intervention had on us. Our civil war must serve as a crystal example towards preventing the further destruction of lives and property in Guinea. Â Generally, the current political catastrophe in neighboring Guinea may not, in any shape or form sound well and good for Sierra Leone. As a country, Sierra Leone is still, in my view struggling to overcome the trauma of a decade long civil carnage.
As a nation, the political affairs of Guinea-Conakry have always been managed by military rulers, whether in civilian clothing or not. Guinea is the typical country that has most often got what I would refer to as a ‘civilian regime in military attire; the latest being the Lansanah Conte’s civilian-military regime.Â I am yet to see a military academy that gives military training on how to run the political affairs of a nation, for it is true that the role of the army is to protect the territorial integrity of a state.
The political affairs of Guinea have always been managed by military boys, and this is unfortunate for African democracies.Â The bloodless overthrow of the corpse of Lansanah Conte by Captain Moussa Dadis Camara in Guinea late last yearÂ marked the beginning of another sad era in not only Guinea’s political; spectrum, but for the whole of the West African sub region. Any form of political instability in Guinea, will definitely have an adverse effect on neighboring countries like Sierra Leone and Liberia. The same will not the case in Guinea and Liberia if Sierra Leone is in political turmoil.
Captain Moussa Dadis Camara came to power in a bloodless coup on December 23 after the death of Dictator Lansana Conte, who had led the country since 1984. The decisionÂ by Captain Moussa Dadis Â Camara to state that he was going to contest theÂ then pending elections in Guinea sent shock waves in Guinea. It resulted to civil disobedience; people took to the streets of Conakry in protest and demonstrations; Scores of demonstrators were killed in Conakry’s biggest stadium on September 28 as they gathered to protest Camara’s plans to run in a presidential election he had slated for January’, reports an online news agency . There were conflicting reports regarding the number of people killed. The military junta said 56 people were killed and 934 were injured. Human Rights Watch said the attack on the protesters was organized and premeditated, and put the death toll at 157. The United Nations believes 150 were killed.
The whole incident led to rape of women, looting of property and the killing of innocent civilians. In most trouble zones, women and children are the most vulnerable; women in Guinea are no exception to this. Reuter’s news agency reported on November 26th that ‘Guinean soldiers raped at least 100 women during a crackdown on protesters in September’, “We have recorded 100 cases of rape against women committed Sept. 28 and the two days that followed,” said Thierno Maadjou Sow, president of the Guinean Organization of Human Rights, which is working with the U.N. investigators.
The Associated Press of November 29th, 2009 the wife of Mouctar Diallo, a former employee of the U.S. Embassy, says her husband was arrested by Guinea’s ruling junta. Djenabou Diallo was quoted as saying that her husband was arrested and was being held inside the capital’s main military barracks “for having criticized the junta in a radio interview”. This shows the situation is deteriorating in Guinea, and there are fears of ethnic conflict will soon erupt, if preventive measures are not taken.
This shows the bad effects of war and conflict. The crackdown itself, it would appear has drawn widespread condemnation both at the regional and international levels. It has also helped in bringing sanctions against the ruling military junta. ECOWAS has called for military intervention, the opposition parties in Guinea have called for the military juntas to stay off the politics of Guinea. Â France and the US have added their voices to the issue and now, the juntas have accused France of having hands in the assassination attempt on their leader. Either way, there should be a way out of the current situation in Guinea, but I am of the view, that Â a military intervention may not be the best of options open to the people of Guinea and the international community, taking the Sierra Leone situation as a case study.
The Voice of America news of December 13threported that the head of West Africa’s regional alliance Â has suggested thatÂ Â foreign troops Â be sent to Guinea to establish security, following the shooting of the country’s military leader. According to VOA, ‘Mohamed Ibn Chambas said the preventative deployment of such a force would ensure the delivery of humanitarian assistance and establish a safe environment for the Guinean people. Chambas said the regional and international community is determined to help Guinea restore constitutional legality amid a deteriorating security situation.Â He added that a special force for order and security would protect citizens, defend Guinea’s territorial integrity, and play a role in guaranteeing peace and security…”
I may have a different view as far as military intervention could be debated. The use of diplomacy may serve us well; I say, ‘us’ because if Guinea sneezes, Sierra Leone and Liberia will definitely catch cold. Liberia’s civil war seriously affected us; our war in Sierra Leone almost had an impact on Guinea. And so, efforts must be taken to prevent further problem in Guinea.
When the Armed Forces Revolutionary Council of Major Johnny Paul Koroma was recalcitrant to leave power in Sierra Leone, there was this wise- but- to-an-extent unwise diplomatic decision, taken by the government of Sierra Leone and the international community, to get a military intervention, in removing the military boys from power. It cost us as a people seriously. Hundreds of people were killed, infrastructure destroyed, and the country was taken to zero in terms of economic and political stability. There is every need for the international community to go to a round table and negotiate with the military junta.
A military intervention will not tell well for the political, economic and social stability of the sub region. It will help to destabilize the region; this is my view, anyway. Take the current Yenga issue between Sierra Leone and Guinea; both countries are yet to come to terms, in terms of who owns Yenga, and if the current stalemate in Guinea is not addressed maturely it will breed room for more misunderstanding between the two countries.Â
So, let all those concernÂ go back to the drawing board, get a round table discussion on the way forward, but definitely, I hold the strongest view that calling for a regional military intervention will not in anyway help to salvage the problem. A politically stable Guinea will mean a politically, socially and economically stable Sierra Leone and Liberia.
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