CONAKRY (Reuters) - A court in Guinea has indicted two generals, both senior officials in the country’s former military junta, for a 2009 massacre of pro-democracy demonstrators, a leading human rights campaigner and judicial officials said on Wednesday.
President Alpha Conde, elected in 2010 in Guinea’s first democratic handover of power since independence from France in 1958, has faced criticism from rights groups for the slow pace of the investigation into the rapes and killings at the rally.
Though charges have been brought against a number of officials, none has yet stood trial for the violence.
“Generals Mamadouba Toto Camara and Mathurin Bangoura were indeed charged along with other soldiers and civilians,” said Thierno Maadjou Sow, president of the Guinean Human Rights Organisation.
Judicial officials, who asked not to be named as they were not allowed to discuss the case, confirmed the indictments. It was not immediately known what crimes the two men were accused of committing.
Camara and Bangoura were not reachable for comment. However close associates of the two men said they were not involved in any crimes committed at the rally.
Military officers seized control of Guinea in a 2008 coup following the death of longtime ruler Lansana Conte.
Thousands of protesters gathered in a stadium in the capital Conakry in August 2009 to oppose the potential candidacy of junta leader Moussa Dadis Camara in presidential elections in early 2010.
More than 150 people were shot, stabbed, bludgeoned or trampled to death and dozens of women were raped as security forces cracked down on the demonstration.
Camara was later shot in an assassination attempt and has spent the last several years living in exile. He announced last month that he planned to return to Guinea to run for president in elections scheduled for October.
He is not among those indicted in connection with the stadium massacre.
“For now Dadis is a free citizen who enjoys all his rights. But he must explain himself in regards to what really happened that day,” Sow said.
Reporting by Saliou Samb; Writing by Joe Bavier; Editing by Andrew Roche