At Least 21 People Killed In Post-Election Violence In Guinea

Sita Aidara sits beside her grandson, Lounceny, who contracted polio at two years old. Healthcare in Guinea was crippled by the Ebola epidemic, leaving it vulnerable to a subsequent polio outbreak. Photograph: Kate Holt/Unicef
Photograph: Kate Holt/Unicef

At least 21 people have died in unrest in Guinea which broke out following last week’s disputed presidential election. International envoys have travelled to Conakry to try and reduce tensions.

RTG state news channel said that 21 people had been killed since 19 October, including officers of the security forces. The opposition claims figures are higher and that some 30 people have died.

President Alpha Condé, 82, won a hotly contested election on 18 October according to official results announced Saturday, setting the stage for a controversial third term.

But his main opponent Cellou Dalein Diallo, 68, disputes the results. He claimed victory last week, citing data his activists gathered at individual polling stations.

Diallo’s self-proclaimed victory led to a week of clashes between opposition supporters and security forces across the nation.

Mediation efforts

The United Nations, African Union and the 15-nation Economic Community of West African States (Ecowas) sent mediators to Guinea on Sunday to try and negotiate a solution.

The envoys – who include Ecowas Commission President Jean-Claude Kassi Brou and the UN special representative to West Africa, Mohamed Ibn Chambas – met several ministers and government officials on Monday.

They spoke with representatives of Guinea’s electoral commission and foreign diplomats and held a two-hour meeting with Diallo, at his Conakry home which police have blockaded for days.

“We set out to bring a bit more trust between the parties, some peace, serenity, and above all stop the violence,” said Brou in a brief declaration following the meeting. “I would like to take this opportunity of thanking Cellou Dalein Diallo and all his team with whom we have had good, frank discussions. We will be continuing our consultations.”

Cellou Dalein Diallo told RFI he “wasn’t expecting much from the emissaries,” whom he considered were “always on Alpha Condé’s side”.

Protests

Anti-Condé protests were due to resume in the city early Monday and many shops stayed shut, but few people took to the streets in the end.

“In my neighbourhood, people say they are waiting to see the outcome of the joint mission,” said a suburban resident who declined to be named.

Scars from the unrest were apparent in the Conakry neighbourhood of Wanindara – an opposition stronghold – with burned-out vehicles lying on the roadside.

Mohamed Saliou Camara, whose house was torched, said Condé and Diallo supporters had clashed in the area.

Much of the turbulence centres on a third term for Alpha Condé, whom opponents accuse of drifting into authoritarianism.

He pushed through a new constitution in March which he argued would modernise the country. But it also allowed him to bypass a two-term limit for presidents.

Source: AFP

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