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Death tolls rises in Guinea poll violence

Post-election violence in Guinea claimed three more lives on Wednesday after losing presidential candidate Cellou Dalein Diallo said the country's first democratic poll was tainted by fraud.

world Updated: Nov 17, 2010 19:28 IST

Post-election violence in Guinea claimed three more lives on Wednesday after losing presidential candidate Cellou Dalein Diallo said the country's first democratic poll was tainted by fraud.



The three deaths reported on Wednesday were in Ratoma, the only suburb in Conakry which Diallo carried in the November 7 vote.



"We have recorded three deaths here," said a doctor on board an ambulance in the Conakry district.



"We have witness accounts from the scene and we were told it was members of Fossepel who fired," he said, referring to the special electoral security force set up by the interim government.



There was no official toll but earlier violence had claimed at least four lives including three killed by security forces, according to various sources.



However Guinea's interim Prime Minister Jean Marie Dore blamed the violence of Diallo's supporters whom he branded as "hooligans."



He said Diallo had sparked the protests on Monday with his fraud claims after the victory of Alpha Conde, who won 52.52 per cent of the votes against Diallo's 47.48 per cent. The Supreme Court has to confirm the results.



Dore, speaking on national television said: "In recent days, hooligans... have engaged in acts of vandalism by targeting innocent citizens and their property."



"There were unacceptable acts, despite our repeated calls to respect the law," he said, referring to unrest in Diallo's electoral strongholds of Ratoma in Conakry and Labe, Pita and Dalaba in Middle Guinea, a predominantly Fulani ethnicity region.



Dore said an overnight curfew had been imposed in the Labe region and in Pita state representative had been dismissed "for weakness" and replaced by the town's police chief.



Diallo, who urged his voters to "avoid violence of any kind" as his claims of fraud are reviewed by the Supreme Court, on Tuesday accused security forces of "savage brutality" against his supporters and members of his Fulani ethnic group.



"I know not to count on the prime minister and minister of public safety who are behind this repression," he said before meeting the transitional president, General Sekouba Konate on Tuesday afternoon.



The firing of automatic weapons in Ratoma could be heard in the capital from Tuesday night until dawn.



Inhabitants and journalists from Pita and Dalaba contacted by phone accused police officers of abusing people and looting shops overnight.



In an interview with French newspaper Le Figaro, victor Conde said it was necessary to install a "large government of national union" for at least two mandates as the troubled country emerges from five decades of authoritarian rule.



"I am not talking about a coalition government, but a union. It is not about politics, it is about good will," he said.



In Washington, US State Department spokesman Philip Crowley called for calm.



"We encourage both Dr. Sonde and Mr. Diallo to urge their supporters to remain calm and allow the court to evaluate any irregularities," he told reporters.



If the Supreme Court confirms the election results, Conde will become the fifth leader of Guinea since independence from France in 1958, ruling a country which is desperately poor, despite massive stores of bauxite and iron ore.



He follows a succession of strongmen: "father of independence" turned despot Sekou Toure who ruled for 26 years; military leader Lansane Conte who ruled for 24 years; coup leader Moussa Dadis Camara who was in place for just over a year; and transition president General Sekouba Konate.