Guinea Cabinet ministers resign over bloody rally
37 mins ago
CONAKRY, Guinea – Two Cabinet ministers in Guinea resigned and France urged its citizens to leave as security deteriorated in the aftermath of a bloody rally last month.
Information Minister Justin Morel Jr., and Labor Minister Alpha Diallo said they cannot serve a government responsible for such violence.
A peaceful pro-democracy rally in the West African country on Sept. 28 took a violent turn when presidential guard troops opened fire on tens of thousands of demonstrators. A Guinean human rights group says 157 people were killed. The government put the death toll at 57.
Morel resigned late Thursday citing moral reasons and Diallo on Wednesday, citing religious convictions.
"My conscience has remained tormented, my heart disturbed, and my sense of reasoning has told me that I no longer have any reason to continue to head this ministry and neither do I have the moral force to be the spokesman of the government after these horrible killings," Morel said in his resignation letter to military leader Capt. Moussa "Dadis" Camara.
The resignations follow that of Agriculture Minister Abdulrahmane Sano on Monday. Sano cited the protest as the reason for his resignation.
The French government has advised its citizens to leave Guinea because of attacks by gunmen against people leaving Conakry's airport. They also reported attacks in homes and cars throughout the city and suburbs.
The French Foreign Ministry says on its Web site "there is no prospect of improvement in the short term."
The International Criminal Court announced Thursday a preliminary investigation into last month's violence. The violence has drawn widespread condemnation, with U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton calling for Camara to apologize and step down.
Camara seized power hours after longtime dictator Lansana Conte died last December. He initially said he would not run in elections scheduled for January, but recently indicated that he may have changed his mind. After the deadly protest, he banned all gatherings and demonstrations.