More violence rocks Guinea

2010-11-16 21:38

Conakry - More deadly violence flared in Guinea on Tuesday after opposition leader Alpha Conde was named the winner of the country's first free presidential election and his rival charged authorities with brutality.

Guinea's security forces were slammed for excessive force as the post-election violence claimed two lives bringing to four the number of deaths in two days. Dozens more were injured in an atmosphere fraught with tension over the election results.

Conde won the run-off poll with 52.52% of the votes, but his rival Cellou Dalein Diallo who scored 47.48% maintains he is the rightful victor, claiming massive voting fraud.

The former prime minister has appealed to the Supreme Court, which must confirm the election result.

Diallo has accused security forces of "savage brutality" against his supporters and members of his Fulani ethnic group.

"I launched an appeal for calm (on Monday night) to show that peace and security don't have a price. But security forces continued to murder and repress with savage brutality," he told AFP and French international radio.

He charged forces with being "trained to attack one ethnic group (the Fulani) and supporters of Cellou and his allies." Conde is a member of the Malinke ethnic group.

Stop killing

Diallo urged transition president General Sekouba Konate to "ask security forces to stop killing our people, taking them from their homes, imprisoning them".

A police source told AFP a man was killed by a soldier in Conakry Tuesday morning: "There was a dispute between them, the man tried to escape and the soldier shot him in the neck."

In Pita in central Guinea one man was killed and 14 injured when Diallo's supporters looted two houses and a neighbour belonging to the rival camp opened fire on them, a Red Cross source said.

On Monday, other witnesses from Middle Guinea said soldiers had killed a man while several others had been shot and injured. The fourth victim died in clashes between Diallo supporters and police in Conakry before results were released.

Soldiers and special election security police (Fossepel) on Tuesday patrolled hotspot suburbs of Conakry such as Ratoma, a Diallo stronghold. Witnesses said soldiers would randomly fire shots as they passed through the suburb.

In Dakar, Human Rights Watch's West Africa researcher Corinne Dufka slammed "excessive force" by security forces, saying that of some 30 gunshot wounds reported from Conakry's Donka hospital, most were direct shots and not from stray bullets.

"We're also hearing many accounts of people being pursued into their houses and beaten quite severely by members of the security forces," she said.

Fifth leader

Guinea's historic election is meant to bring an end to over 52 years of dictatorship and military rule in a country where troops have long held sway.

Dufka said the new president "must put reforming the security sector at the top of his agenda. Armed men in uniform have gotten away with these kinds of abuses for way too long."

In September 2009 troops massacred over 150 people in a Conakry stadium, who had gathered to protest a military junta which took power in a December 2008 coup.

Diallo said he would prove to the Supreme Court that the vote was "riddled with irregularities and fraud," and if it did so he hoped to "be rightfully declared the winner".

If the Supreme Court confirms the election results, Conde will become the fifth leader of Guinea since independence from France in 1958, ruling a country which is desperately poor despite massive stores of bauxite and iron ore.

He follows a succession of strongmen: "father of independence" turned despot Sekou Toure who ruled for 26 years; military leader Lansane Conte who ruled for 24 years; coup leader Moussa Dadis Camara who was in place for just over a year; and transition president General Sekouba Konate.

  • zwerg - 2010-11-17 00:10

    WTF do they think to get bail or what????

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