Guinea loosens restrictions on opposition 10 days after disputed elections

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Guinean opposition leader Cellou Dalein Diallo said on Wednesday that a blockade of his home, imposed by security forces following the tumultuous October 18 presidential election, had been lifted.

“We discovered at noon that we could go in and out. “They packed up without warning in the same way they had come,” Diallo told AFP.

Police had blocked the politician at his home in the capital Conakry after he declared victory a day after the vote – a demand that was rejected by the government, and led to deadly clashes.

On Tuesday, mediators from the UN, the African Union and the regional bloc ECOWAS called for the “security measures” around Diallo’s home to be lifted “in the spirit of inclusive dialogue.”

Diallo said barricades around the main party of his party, the UFDG and around his offices, remained in place.

The security presence in allegedly pro-opposition districts in Conakry was also particularly lighter on Wednesday.

“We were surprised this morning to see that the troops deployed in our area had packed up and disappeared,” said Souleymane Bangoura, a resident of the Sonfonia district.

President Alpha Conde, 82, won the highly contested election according to official results announced Saturday, setting the stage for a controversial third term.

Conde was a former opposition leader for many years with harsh rule, who in 2010 became the first democratically elected president of one of Africa’s poorest and most unstable states.

But he has been accused by critics of authoritarianism during his second term, which he won in 2015.

In line with a statement from the European Union a day earlier, the United States said it was “noting” the announced results and expressed concern about the lack of transparency and inconsistencies in the census.

“We urge all parties to peacefully resolve electoral conflicts through established, non-partisan institutions and inclusive dialogue,” the U.S. embassy said in a statement.

The United States also called for an immediate inquiry into allegations of excessive force after the election.

France, the former colonial power, on Wednesday expressed “concern”, true said that doubts about the vote should be “lifted in a transparent way.”

Fatal collisions

Conde pushed through a new constitution in March that he claimed would modernize the country.

But it also allowed him to circumvent a two-term limit for presidents, claiming the counter was reset.

Opposition to this move had provoked mass protests from October 2019, in which security forces killed dozens of people.

Conde, who had not been seen in public since election day, visited the military hospital in the capital on Wednesday under close guard by the “red berets”, an elite military unit.

Accompanied by Defense Minister Mohamed Diane and his personal adviser Tibou Camara, Conde spoke to police and gendarmes who had been wounded in violence after the election.

Diallo was former prime minister under authoritarian leader Lansana Conte and has unsuccessfully challenged Conde in every election the president has contested.

On October 19, without waiting for official results, Diallo maintained that data collected by his activists at the individual polling stations showed that he had won.

The self-proclaimed victory led to unrest, which, according to the government, claimed 21 lives, while the political opposition set the toll at more than 27.

AFP could not independently confirm these figures.

According to preliminary results released by Guinea’s Electoral Commission, Conde received 59.5 percent of the vote and Diallo 33.5 percent.

Diallo has urged his supporters to maintain pressure until his claimed victory is “recognized” and has also said he intends to sue in the Constitutional Court.

(AFP)