Free Press Journal

At least two dead in Guinea pre-election violence


Conakry: At least two people were killed and a score hurt in clashes between rival political parties ahead of Guinea’s presidential election Sunday, the head of the gendarmerie said. The clashes near the city’s large Madina market Thursday between supporters of incumbent President Alpha Conde, and leading opposition rival Cellou Dalein Diallo, left two dead, General Ibrahima Balde, the gendarmerie chief-of-staff said.

Interior Minister Mahmoud Cisse meanwhile cited hospital sources as saying one person had died and 20 had been injured, while a security source speaking on condiiton of anonymity said “two to three people died”. The minister appealed for calm and warned that “no threat to public order will be tolerated.”

Tension remained high in the capital, Conakry, after the clashes, with ethnic tension on the rise though the weeks-long campaign for the election has been largely peaceful. Traffic was disrupted on the large Fidel Castro motorway to the airport with supporters of Conde stopping cars and even pedestrians suspected of backing the opposition candidate. At the Madina market, spare parts traders from Conde’s Malinke people blocked access to Fulani traders close to Diallo’s UFDG party after seeing their wares go up in smoke on Thursday.

And overnight Thursday to Friday, a score of shops belonging to Fulani traders were looted by Conde supporters in reprisal for the arson attack at the market.