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.
Reuters
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

Turkey: No Ransom Paid for Release of Hostages Held by IS Militants

President Erdogan hails release of hostages as diplomatic success but declines to be drawn on whether their release freed Ankara's hand to take more active stance against insurgents More

Audio Sierra Leone Ends Ebola Lockdown

Health ministry says it has reached 75 percent of its target of visiting 1.5 million homes to locate infected, educate population about virus More

US Pivot to Asia Demands Delicate Balancing Act

As tumult in Middle East distracts Obama administration, efforts to shift American focus eastward appear threatened More

This forum has been closed.
Comment Sorting
Comments
     
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.

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Saving Global Fish Stocks Starts in the Kitcheni
X
September 22, 2014 11:42 AM
With an estimated 90 percent of the world’s larger fish populations having already vanished, a growing number of people in the seafood industry are embracing the concept of sustainable fishing and farming practices. One American marine biologist turned restaurateur in Thailand is spreading the word among fellow chefs and customers. VOA Correspondent Steve Herman reports from Bangkok.
Video

Video Saving Global Fish Stocks Starts in the Kitchen

With an estimated 90 percent of the world’s larger fish populations having already vanished, a growing number of people in the seafood industry are embracing the concept of sustainable fishing and farming practices. One American marine biologist turned restaurateur in Thailand is spreading the word among fellow chefs and customers. VOA Correspondent Steve Herman reports from Bangkok.
Video

Video For West Ukraine City, Conflict Far Away Yet Near

The western Ukrainian city of Lviv prides itself on being both physically and culturally close to Western Europe. The Russian-backed separatists in the eastern part of the country are 1,200 kilometers away, and seemingly even farther away in their world view. Still, as VOA’s Al Pessin reports, the war is having an impact in Lviv.
Video

Video Chinese Admiral Key in China’s Promotion of Sea Links

China’s President last week wrapped up landmark visits to India, Sri Lanka and Maldives, part of a broader campaign to promote a new “Maritime Silk Road” in Asia. The Chinese government’s promotion efforts rely heavily on the country’s best-known sailor, a 15th century eunuch named Zheng He. VOA's Bill Ide reports from the sailor’s hometown in Yunnan on the effort to promote China’s future by recalling its past.
Video

Video Experts Fear Ebola Outbreak ‘Beyond Our Capability to Contain’

Each day brings with it new warnings about the deadly Ebola outbreak already blamed for killing more than 2,600 people across West Africa. And while countries and international organizations like the United Nations are starting to come through on promises of help for those most affected, the unprecedented speed with which the virus has spread is raising questions about the international response. VOA's Jeff Seldin has more from Washington.
Video

Video Natural Gas Export Plan Divides Maryland Town

A U.S. power company that has been importing natural gas now wants to export it. If approved, its plant in Lusby, Maryland, would likely be the first terminal on the United States East Coast to export liquefied natural gas from American pipelines. While some residents welcome the move because it will create jobs, others oppose it, saying the expansion could be a safety and environmental hazard. VOA’s Deborah Block examines the controversy.
Video

Video Difficult Tactical Battle Ahead Against IS Militants in Syria

The U.S. president has ordered the military to intensify its fight against the Islamic State, including in Syria. But how does the military conduct air strikes in a country that is not a U.S. ally? VOA correspondent Carla Babb reports from the Pentagon.
Video

Video Iran, World Powers Seek Progress in Nuclear Talks

Iran and the five permanent members of the U.N. Security Council plus Germany, known as the P5 + 1, have started a new round of talks on Iran's nuclear program. VOA State Department correspondent Pam Dockins reports that as the negotiations take place in New York, a U.S. envoy is questioning Iran's commitment to peaceful nuclear activity.
Video

Video Alibaba Shares Soar in First Day of Trading

China's biggest online retailer hit the market Friday -- with its share price soaring on the New York Stock Exchange. The shares were priced at $68, but trading stalled at the opening, as sellers held onto their shares, waiting for buyers to bid up the price. More on the world's biggest initial public offering from VOA’s Bernard Shusman in New York.
Video

Video Migrants Caught in No-Man's Land Called Calais

The deaths of hundreds of migrants in the Mediterranean this week has only recast the spotlight on the perils of reaching Europe. And for those forunate enough to reach a place like Calais, France, only find that their problems aren't over. Lisa Bryant has the story.
Video

Video Westgate Siege Anniversary Brings Back Painful Memories

One year after it happened, the survivors of the terror attack on Nairobi's Westgate Shopping Mall still cannot shake the images of that tragic incident. For VOA, Mohammed Yusuf tells the story of victims still waiting for the answer to the question 'how could this happen?'
Video

Video Whaling Summit Votes to Uphold Ban on Japan Whale Hunt

The International Whaling Commission, meeting in Slovenia, has voted to uphold a court ruling banning Japan from hunting whales in the Antarctic Ocean. Conservationists hailed the ruling as a victory, but Tokyo says it will submit revised plans for a whale hunt in 2015. Henry Ridgwell reports from London.
Video

Video A Dinosaur Fit for Land and Water

Residents and tourists in Washington D.C. can now examine a life-size replica of an unusual dinosaur that lived almost a hundred million years ago in northern Africa. Scientists say studying the behemoth named Spinosaurus helps them better understand how some prehistoric animals adapted to life on land and in water. The Spinosaurus replica is on display at the National Geographic museum. VOA’s George Putic has more.
Colonel Steve ‘Spiros’ Pisanos left Greece and came to the U.S. to learn to fly. He flew fighters for the Allies in World War II, narrowly escaping death multiple times.Colonel Steve ‘Spiros’ Pisanos left Greece and came to the U.S. to learn to fly. He flew fighters for the Allies in World War II, narrowly escaping death multiple times.

AppleAndroid