Guinea hit by deadly post-election violence


Conakry (AFP)

Ten people, including two police officers, have died in the West African state of Guinea, the security ministry said on Wednesday, after days of unrest after a tense presidential election weekend.

In a statement, the ministry referred to shootings and stabbing in the capital Conakry and elsewhere in the country since Sunday’s presidential poll.

“This strategy of chaos (was) orchestrated to jeopardize the October 18 elections,” the ministry said, adding that many people were injured and property damaged.

Clashes continued in Conakry on Wednesday, where a security officer, Mamadou Keganan Doumbouya, told AFP that at least three people had died.

And a local doctor, who declined to be named, said he had received two corpses and nine injured at his clinic.

The violence follows the high-stakes election in which President Alpha Condé ran for a third term in a controversial candidacy that had already sparked mass protests.

While tensions are already high, the main Guinean opposition leader Cellou Dalein Diallo declared victory in the elections on Monday – ahead of the announcement of the official results, expected this week.

Opposition supporters are deeply suspicious of the fairness of the ballot, although the government insists it was fair.

Much of the tension in Guinea centers on Condé’s candidacy.

Security forces cracked down on mass protests against the move from October last year, killing dozens of people.

In March, the 82-year-old president passed a new constitution that he said would modernize the country. It also allowed him to bypass a two-term limit for presidents, however.

Plumes of black smoke rose above an opposition stronghold in the capital Conakry on Wednesday, where protesters erected barricades and lit fires, an AFP journalist said.

Young people in the alleys also threw stones at police officers stationed along a main thoroughfare who fired tear gas canisters.

The security ministry said “a policeman was lynched” in a suburb of Conakry, and another stabbed to death, without specifying when the attacks took place.

In a social media post earlier Wednesday, Condé called for “calm and serenity while awaiting the outcome of the electoral process.”

– Clashes and barricades –

Ten candidates are also in the running alongside favorites Conde and Diallo, former political rivals who have traded beards in a bitter campaign.

Despite fears of violence after the pre-election clashes, polling day was rather calm.

Then, Diallo’s self-proclaimed electoral victory raised tensions, and his supporters’ celebrations resulted in violent clashes with security forces on Monday.

The opposition politician said security forces killed three young people that night, although AFP could not confirm details.

Security forces also barricaded Diallo inside his home, the politician said on Tuesday.

Observers for the African Union and the 15-country bloc of West Africa, ECOWAS, both said the elections in Guinea were mostly fair, despite Diallo’s camp insistence that that they were fraudulent.

Diallo was prime minister under authoritarian leader Lansana Conte – a fact Condé repeatedly stressed during the election campaign.

However, human rights groups accuse him of leaning towards authoritarianism, saying he is subject to outbursts of anger and reluctant to hold his security forces to account.


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