Guinea voted for independence from France, under the leadership of Sekou Toure on 2 October 1958. President Toure remained in power until his death in 1984, when he was succeeded by Lansana Conte in a bloodless coup. Immediately after Conte’s death in 2008, military officers installed Captain Moussa Dadis Camara as president and promised to hold elections within two years. A presidential poll held on 27 June 2010 was widely viewed as the first free election since independence, and was won by Alpha Conde, who has since postponed legislative elections indefinitely, citing the need to establish democratic standards and transparency first. Political violence flared in May 2013 over opposition to the manner of voter list compilation.
Political violence has been endemic since 2008. The most notorious incident was a massacre on 28 September 2009 after a rally at the stadium in Conakry, the country’s capital, turned violent. A peaceful gathering organised to protest Capt. Camara’s decision to stand in the presidential elections ended in chaos. Witnesses have attested to the violent response initiated by the Presidential Guard and Gendarmerie, who attacked the crowd with knives and bayonets, wounding 1,500 people, killing another 150 and raping 100 women. The incident resulted in an unknown number of disappearances. Despite eyewitness accounts of mass graves dug during the night of 28 September for the burial of hundreds of bodies, little had been done to investigate what happened and who was responsible.
However, on 27 June 2013, Colonel Claude Pivi, head of the president’s security service, was indicted. More recently, a visit by Haile Menkerios , UN Special Representative to the African Union at the level of Under-Secretary-General, raised the prospect of an international commission of inquiry.