Thursday, October 08, 2009

Guinea: Mutilated for daring to demonstrate

Lamine* had his hand nearly severed by a soldier during the 28 September violence

Hundreds of people in the Guinea capital Conakry are still coping with grave injuries from the 28 September military attack on demonstrators in which human rights organizations say at least 150 people died. Lamine*, who sells cosmetics to feed his two wives and five children, told IRIN he does not know whether doctors will be able to save his hand, which was nearly severed when a soldier hacked him with a knife.

“I was in the stadium for the demonstration. All of a sudden we heard gunfire, so people started to flee.

“As I tried to leave, a soldier – armed with guns and knives – whacked at my hand with one of his knives.

“We did not look one another in the eye. I fell down when he cut me.

“The Red Cross brought me to the Donka Hospital, where I received first aid. I later went myself to a public hospital closer to home. I go to hospital now every two days for dressing the wound. Up to now the treatment has been free.

“My hand is barely still attached. I do not know whether it will be normal again. The doctors have now said I should undergo another operation because some of the nerves do not seem to be working. But it is so painful; I'm not sure yet what I'll do.

“The situation for my family is quite difficult. I was the only source of income and I don't know when I'll be able to work again. But by the grace of God we are getting by for now.

“In the days after the stadium violence soldiers came into neighbourhoods, taking youths away and attacking women.

“There is a race issue, one must understand. Even before the events of 28 September it was common to hear soldiers threatening Peulhs [one of Guinea’s main ethnic groups].

“The situation in Guinea is critical. People are not safe. But this is where we live; we do not have a choice but to hope something will be done to improve the situation."

Disclaimer:This material comes to you via IRIN, the humanitarian news and analysis service of the UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs. The opinions expressed do not necessarily reflect those of the United Nations or its Member States.
Photo: Copyright IRIN

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