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Guinea President Sacks Powerful Top Minister


The president of Guinea, Lansana Conte, fired his second-in-command late Friday.

The move comes on the tenth day of a general strike that has paralyzed the country. At least half a dozen people have been killed in unrest in the capital Conakry, its suburbs and interior cities. Jordan Davis reports from our regional bureau in Dakar.

In a presidential decree read on state radio, Mr. Conte announced his minister for presidential affairs, Fode Bangoura, would be replaced by the country's planning minister, Eugene Camara.

Guinean journalist Maseco Conde says the president gave no explanation for the decision.

Conde says Bangoura had been largely running the government.

Some analysts say that in recent months an apparent power struggle appeared to be forming among different clans at the head of Guinea's government.

Last month, Mr. Conte stepped in to reverse Bangoura's firing of some ministers in a government reorganization.

During the week-and-a-half long general strike, opposition parties and trade unions have stepped up calls for Mr. Conte to create and hand over power to a national-unity government.

Strike leaders say they are protesting corruption, as well as what what they say is Mr. Conte's erratic behavior.

Protests linked to the ongoing general strike have spread to a number of cities across the country.

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