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Gunfire Breaks Out Near Military Base in Guinea Capital


Gunfire has broken out in Guinea's capital, Conakry, near a military base where soldiers have been threatening to go on strike over a pay dispute.

Witnesses said the shots could be heard late Thursday near the Alpah Yaya Diallo barracks in the west African nation's capital. There have been no reports of casualties in the shooting incident.

Less than a week ago, Guinea's government held emergency talks with senior military officers, following two nights of rioting by the military over the pay dispute.

Soldiers are demanding back pay said to total $100,000 and dating from a 1996 promise by President Lansana Conte to increase their salary.

The shootings present a challenge for the government, which was formed in the wake of violent strikes in January and February.

Labor unions called those strikes to protest widespread poverty and corruption in the administration of President Conte. Clashes between police and protesters killed more than 100 people.

The strikes ended only after Mr. Conte appointed a consensus prime minister, Lasana Kouyate.

The military's loyalty is seen as key to President Conte remaining in office. Mr. Conte has ruled Guinea since taking power in a 1984 military coup.

Some information for this report was provided by AFP, AP and Reuters.

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