Guinea President Conde’s residence attacked

Guinea President Conde’s residence attacked

President of GuineasAlpha Conde

Forces loyal to Guinean President Alpha Conde have repelled an attack by unknown assailants on his private residence in the capital, Conakry.

Gunfire erupted in the early hours of Tuesday and a shoot-out followed in which a member of Mr Conde’s security detail was killed, reports say.

Mr Conde called for calm in a state TV broadcast following the attack.

He is the first democratically elected leader in Guinea, which has a history of coups and ethnic conflict.

He took power in 2010 after a period of military rule.

The attack on the presidency shows the scale of the challenges facing the new civilian government, correspondents say.

Although the shooting has subsided, Conakry remains tense, and many people are staying at home, reports say.

The security forces have set up road blocks near the palace, and are searching vehicles.

‘Heroic’ fight

The attack on Mr Conde’s home began in the early hours of Tuesday morning. At one point in the attack it appears his home was struck by a rocket.

As well as at least one guard killed, several more were wounded and portions of the house were destroyed, presidential official Francois Fall told AP news agency.

He said the president was safe and was being protected in an undisclosed location. An investigation had been launched but it was too early to name who was behind the attack, Mr Fall said.

“I urge you to remain calm and vigilant for the sake of national unity,” Mr Conde said in a state TV address on Tuesday morning.

“I don’t want any popular reaction… Allow the army and security forces to do their job.

“My house was attacked last night but I congratulate the presidential guard who fought heroically from 0310 until 0500 [GMT] before back-up arrived,” said Mr Conde.

“Our enemies can try everything, but they cannot prevent the Guinean people’s march towards democracy. Democracy has begun and it will continue, I promised you change and, God willing, change will happen.”

Residents said police had blocked access to parts of central Conakry and were searching passing cars.

In December, Mr Conde, a veteran opposition leader, was declared the winner of Guinea’s first democratic election since independence in 1958.

But the contest was marred by clashes, which took on an ethnic dimension, between supporters of Mr Conde, an ethnic Malinke, and his rival for the presidency, Cellou Dalein Diallo, a Peul – two of Guinea’s most populous ethnic groups.

Mr Conde went on to assume power from the military junta that had seized power in December 2008 on the death of the previous president, Lansana Conte, who had ruled for 24 years.

BBC

 

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