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Guinea's President Calls for Calm After Assassination Attempt


Guinea President Alpha Conde reviews an honor guard at his arrival at the Elysee Palace, in Paris for a meeting with French President Nicolas Sarkozy (File Photo - March 23, 2011)

Guinea President Alpha Conde reviews an honor guard at his arrival at the Elysee Palace, in Paris for a meeting with French President Nicolas Sarkozy (File Photo - March 23, 2011)

Guinea's president is calling for calm following an overnight attack on his home in a suburb of the capital, Conakry.

Soldiers are out in force in Guinea's capital following a nearly two-hour attack on the home of President Alpha Conde that ended just before dawn. The president later addressed the nation on state television and radio.

Conde called on everyone to remain calm following the attack, in which he says the presidential guard fought heroically and called for reinforcements. The president congratulated those troops and said nothing will stop the work of the people of Guinea.

It is not clear who was behind the attack, which included rockets and automatic weapons. There are no official reports of arrests.

Conde recalled the traditional belief that no matter what your enemies do against you, if God is with you, nothing will happen. He said no matter what his enemies do, the path of democracy in Guinea has begun and will continue.

Conde was elected president last November in Guinea's first truly-democratic election. Civilian dictators ruled from independence to 2008 when soldiers took power in a coup. The military eventually yielded to last year's vote that saw the 73-year-old opposition leader take office.

President Conde said Tuesday that the people of Guinea voted for change and got it. He then appealed for calm and national unity, asking people to allow the army and security forces to do their jobs.

Conde said there is no room for hatred in Guinea, and said he knows he can count on the people to reject division because there is no development without unity.

Guinea is one of the world's poorest countries despite being the largest exporter of the aluminum ore bauxite.

There was some violence following last year's vote, as riot police and members of Conde's party fought supporters of the second-place finisher, former prime minister Cellou Diallo. Security forces have since raided Diallo's home saying they are looking for weapons. Diallo says it is political intimidation.

Diallo's party opposes President Conde's plans for an electoral census to revise voting lists before parliamentary elections by year's end. The opposition party says that census should be conducted by an independent electoral body, not the Conde government.

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