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Twelve die in Guinea violence

Crowds killed the soldier, after he fired on demonstrators, killing two, at Kankan, 600 kilometres east of the capital Conakry.

india Updated: Feb 11, 2007 06:17 IST

A soldier was lynched and his body burned by raging crowds as ongoing violence claimed at least 12 more lives in the restless west African state of Guinea amid demands that the veteran president resign.

Crowds killed the soldier on Saturday, after he fired on demonstrators, killing two, at Kankan, 600 kilometres east of the capital Conakry. It was originally reported that the soldier had shot three people dead.

He was the first army fatality in the unrest which has caused at least 60 deaths in the last three weeks of violence and a general strike.

Meanwhile, the political opposition called for President Lansana Conte, 72, who has ruled for 23 years, to quit, saying the country was in a state of insurrection.

The latest explosion of violence followed the appointment on Friday of a close associate of the president to the job of prime minister. The opposition and labour unions challenged the appointment, saying the new man, Eugene Camara, was too close to the president.

"Camara is not up to it. He's just a yes-man. He'll do anything Lansana Conte says," said one young demonstrator helping to set up barricades as burning tyres blocked main thoroughfares.

The unions demanded on Friday that Camara immediately resign, while a spokesman for 14 opposition parties said the protests had become "an insurrection which can only end with the departure of Lansana Conte.