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Guinea – ICRC Bulletin No. 01/2007

21-02-2007 Operational Update

Recent ICRC activities in the field

 General situation  

The violence that has convulsed Guinea since 9 February seems to have eased since the declaration of a state of emergency on 12 February and the imposition of a curfew.

The political situation remains locked in stalemate, however, with the unions demanding an end to the state of emergency and the dismissal of Prime Minister Eugène Camara, while the government insists that the unions first revoke their strike order.

The curfew has been considerably eased since 19 February, allowing the population to go out of doors between 6.00 a.m. and 6.00 p.m. The security forces are nevertheless maintaining a strong presence. Rumours of arrests and arbitrary treatment are spreading across the country.

The political crisis in Guinea and its possible effects on peace, security and stability across West Africa are a matter of acute concern to the international community. The European Parliament has called for the setting up of an international commission of inquiry on the events that have occurred in Guinea since 10 January, while the European Union has threatened to block funds allocated under the Ninth European Development Fund. Meanwhile, the Economic Community of West African States has sent a representative to Conakry to seek a negotiated settlement.

 Expanding the Red Cross Society's scope for action  

Ever since the recent clashes began, the ICRC has been supporting the Red Cross Society of Guinea by providing it with communication equipmen t, first-aid supplies, and vehicles and fuel so that it can take injured people to hospital. It has also supplied it with mats, blankets and jerrycans.

The Guinean Red Cross has acted promptly to meet the need for humanitarian aid. Over 700 first-aid volunteers have worked in the country's 33 administrative regions and the five sections of Conakry itself, treating the injured and taking them to hospital. Since 10 February, the National Society and the ICRC have come to the aid of 1,039 injured people and confirmed 51 deaths.

 Medical support  

The ICRC has striven to meet the needs of hospitals and clinics struggling to cope with the high number of gunshot wounds. It has distributed surgical supplies and medicines to facilities in Conakry, Nzérékoré and in Haute-Guinée, Moyenne-Guinée and Basse-Guinée. A medical delegate was dispatched on 15 February to step up support for medical facilities, and supplies have been ordered as a reserve in case of a sudden increase in needs.

 Restoring family links  

The Guinean Red Cross and the ICRC are planning to jointly assess needs in terms of restoring family links. First-aid workers have been ensuring that family links could be restored by identifying wounded people. Red Cross staff have been posted at the main hospital in Donka to receive and counsel families. In addition, the two organizations will jointly survey morgues to identify unclaimed bodies.

 Visits to detainees  

ICRC delegates have resumed their work to monitor the welfare of detainees by carrying out visits to four places of detention in Moyenne-Guinée (the main prisons in Labé and Mamou and police stations in Lélouma and Tougué ).

As part of its food-support programme at Conakry's main prison, the ICRC has distributed food rations to 260 detainees suffering from serious malnutrition.

Negotiations are under way to gain access to people being detained at military bases.

 Protection  

Needs are currently being assessed in the field.

 
For further information, please contact:
  Georg Cunz, ICRC Conakry, tel. +224 63 40 82 67
  Murielle Gras, ICRC Geneva, tel. +41 22 730 24 58 or +41 79 217 32 24