Three killed in riots in southern Guinea

Tue Dec 11, 2012 2:04pm EST
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By Saliou Samb

CONAKRY (Reuters) - At least three people died and several more were injured in clashes that broke out late on Monday in southern Guinea between opposition militants and government supporters, witnesses said.

The violence in the town of Gueckedou near the border with Liberia, around 700 km (420 miles) from the capital Conakry, followed days of protests against the town's military prefect, whom the opposition accuses of abuse of power.

A police official said vehicles carrying reinforcements of police, soldiers and gendarmes left Conakry on Tuesday and were on their way to Gueckedou to try to end the violence.

"The demonstrations and counter-demonstrations led to bloody clashes last night... These people were armed with machetes, clubs, sticks and other weapons. It was very violent," another senior police officer said, asking not to be named.

Government authorities said two people were killed during the night, and several others were injured. Witnesses said the death toll was higher after the clashes continued into Tuesday.

"I personally saw three bodies. But I was told there were at least five killed," Gueckedou resident Mohamed Barry told Reuters by telephone, adding that the violence had continued into the afternoon.

"The security forces intervened, shooting in the air and throwing teargas... The city is deserted. Everyone's gone home, afraid they'll get caught up in it," he said.

Gueckedou is the hometown and stronghold of support for Jean-Marc Telliano, who was sacked as agriculture minister by President Alpha Conde in October amid public accusations of corruption in the West African country.   Continued...