Guinea replaces interior minister
28 May 2013, 18:04
Conakry - President Alpha Conde has replaced his security
minister with a career policeman, Guinea state television said, to tackle
sustained unrest over the preparation of a legislative election the opposition
fears will be rigged.
Opposition street protests began in March over the plan to
proceed with the June 30 vote. Police have killed 12 protesters since Thursday
and more than 50 overall in turmoil testing investor confidence in the world's
largest bauxite exporter.
A senior police source said Conde had dismissed Security
Minister Mouramany Cisse in the face of worsening violence in opposition
districts of Conakry, the coastal capital.
He will be replaced by Madifing Diane, a career policeman
currently serving as Guinean ambassador to Senegal, state television said late
Since protests resumed on Thursday, hundreds of policemen
have been deployed to neighbourhoods in Conakry inhabited by the Peul ethnic
group loyal to the opposition, without succeeding in restoring calm.
Residents reported witnessing clashes between gangs of Peuls
and youths from the Malinke tribe loyal to Conde.
"Gangs came to attack people here, families, right
before the eyes of the police, who didn't do anything," said Saikou Yaya
Barry, president of a Peul ethnic association.
"We have seen the heads of families beaten, mothers
stripped before their children."
Other witnesses said opposition supporters blocked roads in
some part of the capital and attacked passersby.
Diane previously served as security minister under president
Lansana Conte, who ruled Guinea from 1984 to 2008.
Guinea's opposition is calling for a South African firm
contracted to revise voter lists, Waymark, to be replaced and for Guineans
abroad to be allowed to vote.
The opposition accuses Waymark of packing the voter list
with Malinke voters loyal to Conde, something which the company has strongly
Opposition leaders temporarily suspended demonstrations this
month to allow the UN-brokered talks with the government to take place but
later called for the protests to resume, accusing Conde of sabotaging the