By Mouctar Bah (AFP) – 2 hours ago
CONAKRY — Guinea police opened fire on protesters Tuesday, injuring at least six backers of Cellou Dalein Diallo, a candidate in the presidential run-off election this weekend, witnesses told AFP.
The police were initially attacked by young supporters of Diallo’s Union of Democratic Forces of Guinea (UFDG), who hurled stones in several districts of the capital Conakry.
Police riposted with warning shots, then fired live rounds at some of the youths, according to residents questioned by AFP. Witnesses said that they saw six youths struck by bullets, of whom three were admitted to a clinic.
The violence comes six days before Sunday’s second round of a presidential election, which is scheduled to pit Diallo, who took 43 percent of the votes in the first round on June 27, against Alpha Conde, with 18 percent.
Relations between Diallo’s supporters and the security forces have become increasingly tense as the poll date nears. Violent clashes also shook Conakry suburbs on Monday.
Prime Minister Jean-Marie Dore said Monday that he would tolerate no more violence and gave “precise and imperative orders” to the security forces to crack down on “trouble-makers”.
The vote is meant to end decades of dictatorial and military rule in the west African country, where a junta is currently working to hand power to elected civilians.
Diallo has demanded the departure of the head of the Independent National Electoral Commission (CENI), Lounceny Camara, whom he accuses of being wrongfully elected and being close to Conde.
The UFDG party has pressed junta chief General Sekouba Konate to name a “neutral and consensual” person to head the CENI before Sunday’s vote, in a move that threatens the poll at such short notice.
On Thursday, a court in a Conakry suburb is due to rule on a case filed by the UFDG against Camara, who is accused of “electoral fraud” for allegedly having spirited away 109 first-round voting records from the Ratoma constituency, Guinea’s biggest.
The disappearance of these records led to the annulment of the vote in the whole constituency, which is seen as a stronghold of Diallo. His backers claim that he was thus robbed of outright victory.
At the time, Camara was not head of the electoral commission, a post he took up at the end of September. although he was a member. But whatever the court rules, it can only ramp up the tension. If Camara is convicted, he will be discredited, which would anger Conde’s supporters, but an acquittal would be seen as provocation by Diallo and his supporters.
In these circumstances, according to a diplomatic observer, it is hard to see how a peaceful and transparent election can be organised in time, with an outcome that would be uncontested.
Civic organisations have asked Konate to dissolve the CENI bureau and replace it with a directorate composed of three members of civil society and two representatives of the administration, headed by a known public figure.
After meeting on Friday with Burkina Faso’s President Blaise Compaore, who is the mediator in the Guinean crisis, the UN envoy to west Africa, Said Djinnit, said that Compaore was “determined to help Guineans find the way that is needed to hold elections in peaceful conditions.”
For many observers, this will require another postponement of the second round, which was initially planned for September 19, but put off four days beforehand, officially for “technical reasons”, but in reality because of divisions that have ceaselessly undermined the CENI.
By The Associated Press (CP) – 6 hours ago
CONAKRY, Guinea — A witness says police forces in Guinea’s capital are clashing with security forces and supporters of a presidential candidate.
Tamba Millimono, a resident of the Cosa neighbourhood in Conakry, said Tuesday police forces are shooting live ammunition in various neighbourhoods that support presidential candidate Cellou Dalein Diallo. Millimono says they are also hitting his supporters with belts and fighting those who are throwing stones at them.
Diallo says some of his supporters were also wounded during a march on Monday.
Growing discord over the Oct. 24 presidential runoff is dividing the West African country and threatening to cause yet another delay of the poll, which could be the country’s first free and fair vote since winning independence from France 52 years ago.