Nine die in Guinea protests


Nine protesters were killed this week in Guinea during demonstrations against a possible change to the constitution that could let President Alpha Conde seek a third term, government said.

Police opened fire on demonstrators on Monday as they ransacked military posts and blocked roads with burning tyres in Conakry, while protests in the northern opposition stronghold Mamou also turned violent, witnesses said.

Protests continued with decreasing intensity but point to the type of upheaval Conde faces if he tries to extend his rule beyond his legally-allotted two terms.

“Government deeply regrets and also strongly condemns the incidents and has instructed the relevant authorities to shed light on the facts in order to pull together all the evidence,” General Bourema Conde, the minister of territorial administration said in a statement.

A coalition of opposition groups said the police had killed 10 people since Monday. It provided a list of the dead, all males under 30 including 14-year-old schoolboy Boubacar Diallo.

The coalition said in a statement a further 70 protestors were wounded by bullets and 200 people arrested. Police raided homes and assaulted family members of the dead, it said.

Government did not respond.

Conde’s second and final five-year term expires in 2020 but the 81-year-old leader refused to rule out running again. He asked government last month to look at drafting a new constitution, raising concerns he might use it as a reset button on his presidency.

Extending his mandate would mark a turnaround for Conde who, as an opposition leader. railed against militarised, autocratic regimes.

His first election win in 2010 raised hopes for democratic progress in Guinea after two years of military rule and nearly a quarter a century under authoritarian President Lansana Conte.