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Reuters Reports Assassination Attempt Against Alpha Conde

July 19, 2011

Reuters’ reporter, Saliou Samb, perhaps the journalist most responsible for publicizing the propaganda of Alpha Conde’s election bid for president, reports an assassination attack on him in the wee hours of the morning, Tuesday, July 19. Two Reuters articles follow.  When it comes to Alpha Conde and Samb’s coverage of him — reader beware.

You might want to follow Associated Press coverage of these events that appears in the Wall Street Journal today and takes a broader look at Conde and his administration.  Here is an excerpt.  The full article appears further below.

Frustration has been growing because Mr. Condé has failed to create an inclusive government, instead stacking it with members of his ethnicity, and because the country’s grinding poverty hasn’t yet been alleviated.

His relationship with the military—which has been behind every one of Guinea’s past coups including the most recent in 2008—has been strained.

Guinean president escapes assassination bid at home | Reuters

By Saliou Samb

CONAKRY | Tue Jul 19, 2011 1:57pm BST

(Reuters) – Guinean President Alpha Conde escaped a sustained rocket and gunfire attack on his residence on Tuesday that killed one person and left his home riddled with bullet holes.

There was no official word on who was behind the attack on Conde, who came to power last December in an election aimed at ending decades of coups in the West African nation where iron and bauxite resources have attracted world mining majors.

A presidential source said the attack was clearly a failed assassination attempt targeting the president, who later rushed to the state broadcaster to appeal for calm.

“Our enemies will not be able to stop Guinea’s progress,” Conde said in a statement witnessed by a Reuters reporter as it was recorded.

“I appeal to you to stay calm … Let the army and the security services do their work,” said the 73-year-old Conde, who was dressed in a traditional African robe and gave no sign of having been harmed.

Opposition leader Cellou Dalein Diallo, defeated by Conde in the 2010 election, told Reuters he deplored the attack and raised concerns about the country’s stability.

“If this violence persists it will not help consolidate the progress made towards democracy here,” Diallo said by telephone from the Senegalese capital Dakar, where he was visiting.

Eyewitnesses said the attack took place at Conde’s personal residence in the Kipe suburb of the capital Conakry in the early hours of Tuesday and lasted for nearly two hours before it was repelled by Conde’s personal guard.

“The kitchen is covered in blood and part of the building is riddled with bullet holes,” said one witness who declined to be identified, saying the main gate had been blown out with a rocket-launcher.

The presidential source said one suspect had been arrested following the attack but declined to give further details. There was no information on the identity of the person killed.

Some speculated that there could be a link to the July 1 arrest of a colonel close to former junta leader Moussa Dadis Camara, currently exiled in Burkina Faso.

“Conde’s state of grace has ended. He put the backs up of some in the army by arresting Colonel Moussa Keita,” said Senegal-based regional analyst Babacar Justin Ndiaye.

Keita was arrested after he accused Sekouba Konate, the army official who engineered the transition back to civilian power, of having defrauded $22 million from the state.

Former colonial power France urged Guinea to continue its efforts to bolster democracy. “In that context, the armed forces, like the other components of the nation, have an important role to play,” the French Foreign Ministry said.

ARMY DISCIPLINE

As day broke, soldiers erected roadblocks throughout the city and carried out checks on all vehicles on the road. Army pick-up trucks carrying soldiers patrolled the streets, but only a few residents ventured out of their homes.

Veteran opposition leader Conde came to power in the world’s largest exporter of the aluminium ore bauxite last December after the first free election in the West African country since independence from France half a century ago.

The country had been ruled by a military junta since the death of veteran leader Lansana Conte in 2008.

Guinea has a long history of authoritarian rule and its security forces have a reputation for brutality against dissidents as well as indiscipline.

However observers say there has been a marked improvement in army discipline since Conde came to power. He has put in place a new army leadership and appointed himself defence minister to try to drive security reform.

The 2010 election was marked by ethnic tensions between rival groups linked to Conde and Diallo, whose Peul ethnic group accounts for around 40 percent of the population.

While Diallo conceded defeat, political tensions have simmered, with Diallo’s UFDG opposing Conde’s plans to carry out an electoral census and revamp the voter roll before a parliamentary election Conde wants to hold by year-end.

The UFDG wants the census to be carried out by an independent electoral body rather than the government.

(Additional reporting by Nicholas Vinocur in Paris and Diadie Ba in Dakar; Writing by Mark John; Editing by Elizabeth Piper)

Timeline – Attack on Guinea’s Conde repelled

ReutersReuters – 2 hours 15 minutes ago

(Reuters) – Here is a timeline of Guinea, where President Alpha Conde escaped a sustained rocket and gunfire attack by unknown assailants on his residence on Tuesday.

December 24, 2008 – Junta chief Captain Moussa Dadis Camara is chosen as de facto head of state following a bloodless coup a day after President Lansana Conte’s death was announced.

September 28, 2009 – Security forces fire live rounds at anti-junta protesters in a stadium, killing more than 150.

October 29 – The United States restricts the travel of junta members and the African Union imposes sanctions which include travel restrictions and the freezing of bank accounts.

December 3 – Camara is shot and wounded by one of his soldiers.

December 4 – Camara is evacuated to Morocco for treatment of a head wound. Defence Minister Sekouba Konate returns from abroad to take temporary control.

February 15, 2010 – Guinea announces a caretaker government with a mix of civilian and military leaders. Its main task will be to prepare elections and a return to fully civilian rule.

June 27 – First round of presidential election. Former Prime Minister Cellou Dalien Diallo wins 43.69 percent, followed by Alpha Conde with 18.25 percent. Run-off scheduled for September 19.

October 23 – Security forces in Conakry fire live rounds to try to stop violence which also erupts in several other towns after the election set for October 24 is delayed.

November 15 – Conde is declared winner of a November 7 runoff with 52.5 percent after voters outside Diallo’s ethnic Peul support base rallied to his cause. Diallo challenges the result in the Supreme Court, alleging fraud.

November 17 – Guinea declares a state of emergency and imposes a night curfew after three days of violence that followed the announcement of the result. One rights group said it counted at least 10 people killed and more than 200 wounded.

November 27 – Junta closes the borders before the ruling on challenges to the outcome of the presidential poll.

December 3 – Supreme Court names Conde president.

December 9 – The African Union lifts sanctions against Guinea with immediate effect after a return to constitutional order.

March 24, 2011 – West African regional bloc ECOWAS lifts sanctions against Guinea after the election returns the country to civilian rule.

July 19 – Heavily armed attackers kill one person in an attack on Conde’s residence. Conde escapes unhurt after his personal guard repelled the attack.

 Guinea President Survives Attack – WSJ.com

CONAKRY, Guinea—Guinea’s democratically elected president survived an assassination attempt early Tuesday when gunmen descended on his home, an attack that throws into doubt the political stability of this mineral-rich country with a history of coups.

President Alpha Condé later addressed the nation on state radio, saying that his presidential guard “had fought heroically at 3:10 a.m.” when his home came under attack by unidentified commandos.

A file photo taken on March 23, 2011 shows Guinean President Alpha Condé leaving the presidential palace in Paris after a meeting with French President Nicolas Sarkozy. Mr. Condé’s residence in Conakry was hit by a rocket attack as sustained heavy-weapons fire rocked the Guinean capital early on Tuesday.

At least one member of his security detail was killed, several more were wounded and portions of his house were destroyed, said François Fall, a minister at the presidency.

Mr. Condé, who was elected just seven months ago in a vote deemed to be Guinea’s first free and fair election, called on the population to stay calm and avoid acts of reprisal.

“If your hand is in the hand of God, nothing can happen to you,” he said. “Our enemies can try everything, but they will not stop the march of the Guinean people.”

Mr. Fall said that the president is safe and is being protected in an undisclosed location. He said an investigation had been launched but that it was too early to name who was behind the attack.

On Tuesday, taxi drivers said the red-beret presidential guard had blocked a bridge that is the only way to enter the thin peninsula that leads into downtown Conakry.

Residents in the Kaporo Rail neighborhood said the shooting erupted as they were sleeping at around 2 a.m. and continued until first light.

The heaviest fighting appeared to be coming from near the walled compound where Mr. Condé lives—the same three-story home that served as his base when he was the head of the country’s opposition.

“It seemed to me that they were exchanges of shots between the presidential guard and a group of assailants,” said a neighbor, who spoke on condition of anonymity for fear of reprisals. “We were scared all night long. It’s only at dawn that it became calm again.”

Guinea held its first free and fair election last November, a half-century after winning independence from France. Mr. Condé won, but the capital devolved into ethnic riots as his supporters, who like him are mostly from the Malinke ethnic group, clashed with supporters of the defeated candidate, who are mostly Peul.

Frustration has been growing because Mr. Condé has failed to create an inclusive government, instead stacking it with members of his ethnicity, and because the country’s grinding poverty hasn’t yet been alleviated.

His relationship with the military—which has been behind every one of Guinea’s past coups including the most recent in 2008—has been strained.

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