In 2009, more than 150 people were killed at Conakry’s football stadium when a peaceful opposition protest was attacked by the ruling junta’s elite police. In the crackdown that followed, “officers of the law” allegedly raped and assaulted many more on the streets of Conakry.
Over 100 women were raped and hundreds of people were injured on that fateful September 28.
Oumou Kaba photographed in the house where she lives with her children after being abandoned by her husband, who left her when he found out she had been raped at the stadium on 28 September 2009.
She said: ‘I can’t say much about that date. What I know is that my life changed for the worse. I am not in good health and I am responsible for all of my children. I want justice to be done so that the truth come to light.’
It’s already 7 years since that incident but it seems like yesterday. Survivors who lived to tell the tales, will never forget suffering bloody violence from a government who should protect lives and property.
Thousands of people sustained injuries and many of them still live with the trauma.
With the help of some local and international human rights agencies, the survivors are relentlessly fighting for the government to accept liability for what happened.
Photographer Tommy Trenchard has been documenting their stories.
Seven years after the massacre at the Conakry national stadium on 28 September 2009, human rights organisations are paying tribute to the thousands of people caught up in Guinea’s state violence.
The international human rights organisation FIDH , in partnership with a Guinean NGO, invited photographer Tommy Trenchard to capture images of survivors at the scene of their attack.
Here, a woman stands close to where she was arrested and abused by security forces: ‘I want justice to be done because the impunity for soldiers in Guinea is continuing and the state cannot provide security to its citizens.’
A report released in 2009 recounted horrific accounts of the slaughter of pro-democracy protesters in the football stadium by army officers, who used their guns and bayonets to kill 157 people and injure more than 1,250.
Thierno Maadjou Sow was photographed at the gates where he was beaten unconscious and had his leg broken: ‘I ran towards the exit but the soldiers pushed us back so I fell down and people trampled over me. I was shouting, and the man behind tried to pull me out but there were too many bodies. My leg snapped. I still have scars down my right shin.’
Mamadou Saliou Diallo at the exit to the stadium where he was almost crushed to death.
‘I was in the stands when they started shooting. Then the person in front of me was shot in the shoulder so I knew it was real. I was beaten on the head and someone stabbed me in my foot. Then at the entrance I fell on top of a dead person and was crushed by the crowd. I can’t feel my right foot any more and I have pain in my back. I am not myself any more. I am always feeling pain. Sometimes I feel like I’m crazy. I hope God will help us find justice.’
Aissatou Lamarana Barry was attacked by members of the security forces behind the football stadium: ‘I was raped behind the stadium. Since then I can’t understand my life. I was breastfeeding and my husband abandoned me. My children can’t go to school and I can’t pay my rent.’
Mamadou Taslima Diallo, at the entrance where he was beaten by police: ‘They beat me on the head and it was five days before I could hear again from my right ear. It frustrates me that we still have no justice and the perpetrators are walking around freely.’
Ibrahima Diallo was trampled trying to flee: ‘When I was at the stadium they started shooting gas. Then the Red Berets militaries came in … One of the soldiers grabbed me by the neck and I fell down and got trampled. Now I can’t sit down anywhere for a long time. I have pain in my lower body. I used to be a tailor but I can no longer do that work. What I want is justice for the victims.’
Aissata Barry photographed in the stands at the national stadium where she was raped by soldiers on 28 September 2009.
‘I was held in the stadium and raped there in the stands. They hit me on the head and I lost consciousness. When I regained consciousness I saw a soldier in front of me and he helped me to put on my clothes.
He said he would help me but another soldier turned up and ordered me to laugh while he shot dead three men. Then he made me drag some bodies out of the way at the gates of the stadium. Another soldier was playing music and forcing people to dance naked. I got HIV. Since that time I’ve always felt sick, though now I am taking the treatment. I think about that day all the time. I think those people need to see justice.’
All photographs by Tommy Trenchard. For full information on the project and to read more of the surivivors’ testimonies, see: waitingforjustice.fidh.org