News / Africa

Ethnic Clashes Erupt in Guinea Capital

Anti-riot policemen deploy across Conakry to separate rival gangs, March 1, 2013.
Anti-riot policemen deploy across Conakry to separate rival gangs, March 1, 2013.
Rival gangs fought with knives and truncheons in Guinea's crumbling seaside capital on Friday as ethnic tensions worsened ahead of an election in the unstable West African nation, witnesses said.
Security forces in full anti-riot gear piled into the backs of pick-up trucks and deployed across Conakry to separate the fighters as President Alpha Conde's government appealed for calm.
"It has become very bad. People set fire to a car right in front of me. I've seen four people injured in the fighting," said Souleymane Bah, a resident of Bambeto, one of several areas where clashes were reported.
"We've locked ourselves inside a bank. I can see people fighting outside," resident Abdoulaye Sylla told Reuters by telephone from Conakry's Dixxin neighborhood.
Residents in other areas fled in panic as the gangs from rival ethnic groups roamed the streets, according to witnesses.
The long-delayed legislative vote, tentatively set for May, is needed to complete a transition to civilian rule after a 2008 military coup, and could open the door to hundreds of millions of dollars in European aid.
But preparations for the poll have been hampered by opposition claims the government is seeking to rig the outcome in advance, leading to a political impasse and sparking sporadic street protests that often turn violent.
Politics in Guinea are mainly drawn along ethnic lines with the opposition coalition broadly supported by members of the Peul ethnicity — the country's biggest ethnic group — and the government supported by the Malinke.
The fighting on Friday follows two days of anti-government protests that have sharpened those divisions. One civilian was killed in those protests and scores of protesters and police were injured.
The United States Embassy in Guinea issued a statement late on Thursday expressing concern about the violence and calling for restraint. "The United States continues to urge the Republic of Guinea to work with all parties to ensure that peaceful and transparent elections take place," it said.
Conde's government said on Friday it called on citizens to remain calm, and said it would hold talks with representatives of the country's political parties next week.
Conde narrowly won a 2010 presidential election — billed as the former French colony's first free poll since 1958 independence — promising to unite Guinea in the same way Nelson Mandela did after apartheid in South Africa. But many of his compatriots say he has failed.
Opposition leader and former premier Sidya Toure said opposition supporters were defending themselves.
"The situation has clearly degenerated into inter-ethnic violence between the Peuls and Malinkes," he said. "We've already called for calm, but what can you tell someone who is being attacked with a club?"
Conde has promised prosperity for the former French colony's 10 million people, which is the world's top supplier of bauxite, the raw material in aluminum.
Guinea's economy produces only about $1.50 per person per day despite a wealth of natural resources, including the world's largest untapped iron ore deposit.

You May Like

Photogallery Brussels Schools, Metro Reopen Under Heavy Guard

City remains under the highest threat alert level due to what authorities have described as a 'serious and imminent' threat of attack

Video Debt-ridden Refugees Await Onslaught of Lebanese Winter

Aid agencies are attempting to reduce potentially devastating consequences of freezing conditions and snowstorms that killed eight last year, including three Syrian refugees

UN Warns Air Pollution in Asia Pacific Has Rising Cost

Globally some seven million people a year die prematurely due to indoor and outdoor pollution with about 70 per cent of those deaths in region

This forum has been closed.
Comment Sorting
by: M.M Diakite from: China
March 02, 2013 4:08 AM
The main problem in Guinea is that those who progressively killed the country in decades of governance are those who claim themeselves as opponents. They oppose to what? They will do everything in there hands to either topple down Conde or kill him. But they can not because their battle is not blessing by God.

By the Numbers

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
After Paris Attacks, France Steps Up Fight Against ISi
November 24, 2015 3:04 AM
The November 13 Paris attacks have drawn increased attention to Syria, where many of the suspected perpetrators are said to have received training. French President Francois Hollande is working to build a broad international coalition to defeat Islamic State in Syria and in Iraq. Zlatica Hoke reports.

Video After Paris Attacks, France Steps Up Fight Against IS

The November 13 Paris attacks have drawn increased attention to Syria, where many of the suspected perpetrators are said to have received training. French President Francois Hollande is working to build a broad international coalition to defeat Islamic State in Syria and in Iraq. Zlatica Hoke reports.

Video US, Cambodian Navies Pair Up in Gulf of Thailand

The U.S. Navy has deployed one of its newest and most advanced ships to Cambodia to conduct joint training drills in the Gulf of Thailand. Riding hull-to-hull with Cambodian ships, the seamen of the USS Fort Worth are executing joint-training drills that will help build relations in Southeast Asia. David Boyle reports for VOA from Preah Sihanouk province.

Video Americans Sharpen Focus on Terrorism

Washington will be quieter than usual this week due to the Thanksgiving holiday, even as Americans across the nation register heightened concerns over possible terrorist threats. VOA’s Michael Bowman reports new polling data from ABC News and the Washington Post newspaper show an electorate increasingly focused on security issues after the deadly Islamic State attacks in Paris.

Video World Leaders Head to Paris for Climate Deal

Heads of state from nearly 80 countries are heading to Paris (November 30-December 11) to craft a global climate change agreement. The new accord will replace the Kyoto Protocol on Climate Change that expired in 2012.

Video Uncertain Future for Syrian Refugee Resettlement in Illinois

For the trickle of Syrian refugees finding new homes in the Midwest city of Chicago, the call to end resettlement in many U.S. states is adding another dimension to their long journey fleeing war. Organizations working to help them integrate say the backlash since the Paris attacks is both harming and helping their efforts to provide refugees sanctuary. VOA's Kane Farabaugh reports.

Video Creating Physical Virtual Reality With Tiny Drones

As many computer gamers know, virtual reality is a three-dimensional picture, projected inside special googles. It can fool your brain into thinking the computer world is the real world. But If you try to touch it, it’s not there. Now Canadian researchers say it may be possible to create a physical virtual reality using tiny drones. VOA’s George Putic reports.

Video New American Indian Village Takes Visitors Back in Time

There is precious little opportunity to experience what life was like in the United States before its colonization by European settlers. Now, an American Indian village built in a park outside Washington is taking visitors back in time to experience the way of life of America's indigenous people. Carol Pearson narrates this report from VOA's June Soh.

Video Even With Hometown Liberated, Yazidi Refugees Fear Return

While the northern Iraqi town of Sinjar has been liberated from Islamic State forces, it's not clear whether Yazidi residents who fled the militants will now return home. VOA’s Mahmut Bozarslan talked with Yazidis, a religious and ethnic minority, at a Turkish refugee camp in Diyarbakır. Robert Raffaele narrates his report.

Video Nairobi Tailors Make Pope Francis’ Vestments

To ensure the pope is properly attired during his visit, the Kenya Conference of Catholic Bishops asked the Dolly Craft Sewing Project in the Nairobi slum of Kangemi to make the pope's vestments, the garments he will wear during the various ceremonies. Jill Craig reports.

Video Cross-Border Terrorism Puts Europe’s Passport-Free Travel in Doubt

The fallout from the Islamic State terror attacks in Paris has put the future of Europe’s passport-free travel area, known as the "Schengen Zone," in doubt. Several of the perpetrators were known to intelligence agencies, but were not intercepted. Henry Ridgwell reports from London European ministers are to hold an emergency meeting Friday in Brussels to look at ways of improving security.

Video El Niño Brings Unexpected Fish From Mexico to California

Fish in an unexpected spectrum of sizes, shapes and colors are moving north, through El Niño's warm currents from Mexican waters to the Pacific Ocean off California’s coast. El Nino is the periodic warming of the eastern and central Pacific Ocean. As Faiza Elmasry tells us, this phenomenon thrills scientists and gives anglers the chance of a once-in-a-lifetime big catch. Faith Lapidus narrates.

Video Terrorism in Many Forms Continues to Plague Africa

While the world's attention is on Paris in the wake of Friday night's deadly attacks, terrorism from various sides remains a looming threat in many African countries. Nigerian cities have been targeted this week by attacks many believe were staged by the violent Islamist group Boko Haram. In addition, residents in many regions are forced to flee their homes as they are terrorized by armed militias. Zlatica Hoke reports.

Video Study: Underage Marriage Rate Higher for Females in Pakistan

While attitudes about the societal role of females in Pakistan are evolving, research by child advocacy group Plan International suggests that underage marriage of girls remains a particularly big issue in the country. VOA’s Ayesha Tanzeem reports how such marriages leads to further social problems.

VOA Blogs