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Guinea Army Declares State of Emergency


Residents of the mostly Peul suburb of Bambeto, Conakry, walk back to their homes behind barricades they set after a shooting incident, 17 Nov 2010

Residents of the mostly Peul suburb of Bambeto, Conakry, walk back to their homes behind barricades they set after a shooting incident, 17 Nov 2010

Guinea's military government is imposing a state of emergency as violence continues following the announcement of results from the country's presidential election.

Army Chief Nouhou Thiam announced the state of emergency in a nationwide television broadcast.

Thiam says troublemakers are deliberating attacking security forces and other civilians. So this state of emergency is meant to counter what he calls those undemocratic elements to preserve peace and national unity. It will remain in effect until Guinea's supreme court certifies the results of the November 7 presidential election.

Electoral law gives the supreme court eight days from Monday's announcement of provisional results to certify a vote count that says long-time opposition leader Alpha Conde is the president-elect.

Former PM Cellou Diallo (File)

Former PM Cellou Diallo (File)

His opponent, former prime minister Cellou Diallo, is challenging those results, asking the supreme court to annul votes from two districts where thousands of members of his ethnic group were driven from their homes in pre-election violence. If those results are thrown out, Mr. Diallo would end up with more votes that Mr. Conde.

The state of emergency is meant to end three days of violence between security forces and Diallo supporters.

Two Diallo supporters were shot dead late Tuesday, their bodies brought to Mr. Diallo's headquarters. One was shot in the back of the head. The other was shot through the neck.

Mr. Diallo says that despite his appeals for calm and despite instructions given by Guinea's acting military leader General Sekouba Konate, the repression of his supporters is growing stronger. He says supporters who have demonstrated peacefully are beaten and thrown in prison, which Mr. Diallo says is not normal in a country that wants to be democratic.

Not all of Mr. Diallo's supporters are demonstrating peacefully. Some have engaged in rock-throwing battles with riot police. Others have attacked members of Mr. Conde's ethnic group. But Diallo supporters do appear to have borne the brunt of law enforcement, accounting for nearly all of the more than 70 people admitted to a local hospital since the start of the fighting.

Young men from Mr. Conde's ethnic group marched through the Cosa neighborhood , carrying clubs and machetes, saying they are preparing to defend themselves against attack from Mr. Diallo's supporters.

Mr. Diallo says security forces are helping those civilians target his supporters.

Mr. Diallo says some young ethnic Malinke and Sousou are being helped by members of the presidential guard to identify Diallo supporters to be killed or arrested.

This vote is meant to return Guinea to civilian rule nearly two years after soldiers took power here.

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