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Guinean Presidential Guards, Protesting Soldiers Clash in Capital


Witnesses say guards of Guinean President Lansana Conte have clashed with soldiers who began a mutiny earlier this week.

The witnesses say the two sides briefly exchanged fire Thursday on a key road leading to the presidential palace in the capital, Conakry. No one was injured, and the incident ended when the soldiers pulled back.

Guinean troops began a protest over political and pay issues on Monday. The soldiers are demanding the removal of all of the army's top generals.

Guinea's army chief of staff, General Diarra Camara, called on the soldiers taking part in the revolt to return to their barracks.

Earlier Thursday, the president's guards set up barricades around the part of the capital housing the presidential residence and the military's headquarters.

On Tuesday, the government agreed to several demands from the soldiers, including the firing of Guinea's defense minister, and promised to pay some $1,100 in back salary.

The mutiny began Monday with soldiers rioting and firing into the air at several bases around the West African country. At least two people have been killed by stray bullets.

Soldiers continue to hold the army's second in command, General Mamdou Sampil, who they seized Monday.

The soldiers rioted in response to the firing of Prime Minister Lansana Kouyate, who was perceived as a reformer and had promised to work to increase military salaries.

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

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