Police in Guinea caught on video kicking child
Guinean police have been accused this week of beating children on the streets of Conakry, just after security forces reportedly used live ammunition to put down anti-government protests. The claims of police brutality directed at children in the capital appear backed up by an amateur video of one such assault.
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This image taken from a video (below) clearly shows policemen beating a child
Guinean policemen have been accused this week of beating children on the streets of Conakry, just after security forces reportedly used live ammunition to put down anti-government protests in the capital. The claims of police brutality directed at children appear backed up by an amateur video.
In the video, police can be seen firmly holding a child by his t-shirt and kicking and hitting him.
The amateur footage was posted online in on Monday, April 13, on a Facebook page called ‘From Hamdalaye, Bambeto and Cosa' [Editor's note: Hamdalaye, Bambeto and Cosa are three districts in Conakry]. This small Facebook group has more than 4,000 followers and covers news relating to the three neighbourhoods. Subsequently uploaded to YouTube, the video instantly caused a stir amongst internet users. While some condemned his mistreatment, others found it normal to see officers “correct a child behaving badly”.
Among the officers shown kicking the defenceless child, those wearing black helmets belong to the Anti-Criminal Brigade [BAC], a unit attached to the country's police force. Those wearing white helmets belong to the Gendarmerie. Security forces were deployed in large numbers on Monday to disperse anti-government demonstrators, most notably in the districts of Taouyah, Hamdallaye, Gbessia and the area surrounding the airport.
An incident implicitly acknowledged by the authorities
The Observers team has so far been unable to contact the person who secretly filmed these images. But several local Observers said they were sure that the video was taken on Monday during the daytime in Conakry. After carefully checking online, we have not found any trace of the footage prior to April 13. One of our witnesses even believes he recognises the 'T2', a main road that links the city's airport to the Bambelo district. Bambelo is renowned for being a stronghold of opposition to Guinean president Alpha Conde. All of our Observers stressed that the protest was also notable for the huge number of children, whose participation can be seen in photos by journalist Nouhou Balde on Guinee Matin's website.
Contacted by France 24, the country's authorities implicitly acknowledged Monday's incident. The government's spokesperson, Damantang Albert Camara, said that Guinea's Security Minister was "currently seeking those involved, having been given the images through social media channels."
Demonstrators on Monday originally set out to march against the country's lack of stability and to pressure the government into holding local elections that have been postponed for more than ten years. But the protest degenerated into violence after a crackdown by security forces. Several people had to be treated for bullet wounds. Clashes continued well into Tuesday around the main road linking the neighbourhoods of Hamdallaye, Bambeto and Cosa. Protesters hurled rocks at police officers who responded by firing rounds of tear gas. A few shops were also looted. However, France 24's correspondent on the ground pointed out that the crowd was smaller than it had been on the previous day of protests.