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On State TV, Konate Orders Army to Help Secure Election

June 11, 2010

Bloomberg
Guinean Military Ruler Orders Army to Help Secure Elections
June 11, 2010, 4:37 AM EDT 
By Alpha Camara

June 11 (Bloomberg) — Guinea’s military ruler ordered the West African nation’s army to remain vigilant and guard elections scheduled for later this month.

Forces under the command of the army chief of staff, Colonel Nouhou Thiam, “will have to remain on red alert to avoid disruptions to this presidential election,” General Sekouba Konate said on state-owned Radio Television Guineenne yesterday in the capital, Conakry.

Guinea is the world’s biggest exporter of bauxite, a raw material used in aluminum production. Companies including United Co. Rusal, the largest aluminum producer, and AngloGold Ashanti Ltd., the world’s third-biggest gold-mining company, have operations in the country.

This month’s election follows a military coup in December 2008, when a faction of the army led by Captain Moussa Dadis Camara seized power after President Lansana Conte, who had ruled the country for more than two decades, died. Konate then took over as head of the junta in December 2009 after Camara was shot by one of his aides and hospitalized in Morocco.

Konate’s administration and opposition leaders signed an accord on Jan. 15 that provided for the establishment of a unity government and a national election to be held by the end of June. At least 16,000 soldiers are being deployed for the vote, which will be held on June 27.

The National Independent Electoral Commission yesterday denied rumors circulating in Conakry that the election would be delayed.

“All the technical conditions are in place for the elections to be held,” Ben Sekou Sylla, the head of the commission, said on state radio yesterday. “We are ready for this election.”

Yesterday, 23 European Union observers left Conakry and headed for the country’s eight administrative regions, where they will monitor the vote, RTG said, without citing anyone. A total of about 70 EU personnel will observe the election, it said.

–Editors: Paul Richardson, Philip Sanders.

To contact the reporter on this story: Alpha Camara in Conakry via Johannesburg at pmrichardson@bloomberg.net.

To contact the editor responsible for this story: Antony Sguazzin in Johannesburg at asguazzin@bloomberg.net.

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