News / Africa

Tensions High in Guinea After Presidential Vote

Guinean police carrying automatic weapons clear the mostly Peul suburb of Bambeto in Conakry, Guinea, 16 Nov.2010, as groups of UFDG youth set up barricades. A de-facto curfew is in effect in the area, residents staying inside, one day after it was announ
Guinean police carrying automatic weapons clear the mostly Peul suburb of Bambeto in Conakry, Guinea, 16 Nov.2010, as groups of UFDG youth set up barricades. A de-facto curfew is in effect in the area, residents staying inside, one day after it was announ

Security forces in Guinea's capital battled supporters of former Prime Minister Cellou Diallo for a second day Tuesday after the electoral commission announced that their candidate lost the country's presidential election.

Meanwhile, supporters of long-time opposition leader Alpha Conde celebrated their win.

In Conakry's Bambeto suburb, riot police clashed with Diallo supporters, who rushed forward forward in small groups to throw stones before being driven back by tear gas.

At the Donka Hospital, 66 people from the fighting have been admitted since Monday morning. Sixteen are in critical condition and many have gunshot wounds.

Eighteen-year-old Oumar Sylla Diallo (no relation to the former prime minister) lies on a mattress on the floor, his left leg wrapped in a long cardboard splint. Diallo says he was on his way home Monday night when he was shot in the leg by members of the army's Red Berets near a cemetery. He says he does not know why they shot him.

Guinea's military rulers have banned all public demonstrations and say they will not allow any violence to disrupt this transition to civilian rule.

Mr. Diallo lost Guinea's presidential election in provisional results released late Monday and says security forces are unfairly targeting his supporters. He says these attacks endanger social peace.  The former prime minister says it is the winners in this race wjp are attacking the supposed losers with the complicity of security forces who, he says, are targeting members of his ethnic group.

It will not be possible to maintain order, he says, if people continue to flagrantly and unjustifiably violate the rights of other citizens. Mr. Diallo is calling for calm. So too is Mr. Conde.

The people of Guinean voted calmly. says Mr. Conde, and with great maturity despite what he called many provocations. Conde repeated his call on his supporters to remain calm.

Conde's supporters paraded through the streets of the capital celebrating their candidate's win.

Bassia Sankhon says it means big changes for Guinea. Mr. Conde refused to work with previous governments in Guinea because of their corruption, says Sankhon. She says Conde never stole from the people and went to jail instead. Now, she says, Mr. Conde has brought democracy to Guinea to liberate the people and change the economy.

Mr. Diallo was the frontrunner in this election, in part because he won the first round. But also because he comes from the country's largest ethnic group.

Mr. Conde is from Guinea's second largest ethnic group and appears to have assembled a winning coalition that includes the country's third largest ethnic group, the Sousou.  Mr. Conde was mobbed by Sousou supporters in Conakry Tuesday chanting: "Alpha Conde, the Sousou have your back."

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