Friday, November 02, 2007

[Guinean news] Book on Camp Boiro published

Controversial former interior minister Alseny René Gomez has recently published a book on his eight years spent in Camp Boiro in Conakry. The jail for political prisoners was one of the most infamous features of Sékou Touré's 1958-84 regime.

In his book entitled 'Camp Boiro: parler ou périr' ('Talk or perish'), Gomez writes, "Rats got better treatment than humans. Those that saw death coming would write on the walls of their cells in blood or feces."

Gomez, then interior minister, was a key figure in the February 1996 army mutiny that turned into an attempt coup against Gen. Lansana Conté's regime.

Thursday, November 01, 2007

[Guinean news] Youths in Labé protest power cuts

The UN's IRIN news service reports on protests against erratic electricity in the central Guinean city of Labé.

Some 1000 youths marched on the town’s state electricity office earlier this month, chased out the staff and barricaded the doors.

The youths then marched to the governor’s office and handed him the keys, appealing to him to find a solution to Labé’s electricity problem.

IRIN noted that the youths did not use violence but added that [s]ince the protest, there has been no electricity anywhere.

The news service reported that public protests have increased since a mass movement paralyzed the country earlier this year.

Then, Guinea saw unprecedented citizen demonstrations, as thousands of people poured into the streets denouncing poor living conditions. The protests, in which security forces cracked down on civilians, paralysed the country for weeks.

Guineans and outside observers alike say the nationwide strikes transformed Guineans, giving them a taste of the power of taking to the streets.

According to the UN Development Program, only 8 percent of people in the country known as the 'water tower of West Africa' have access to electricity... and most who do find power cuts a regular fact of life.