More than 20 people killed in Guinea riots after last week’s elections

2020-10-23T155637Z_666727327_RC2FOJ9JEVNL_RTRMADP_3_GUINEA-ELECTION

A total of 21 people have been killed in unrest in Guinea after a controversial presidential election last week, state television reported on Monday as international envoys tried to ease tensions in the West African nation.

The RTG state news channel said 21 people had been killed since Oct. 19, including security forces officers – six fewer than figures compiled by the opposition, which claims 27 have died.

President Alpha Conde, 82, won a highly contested election on October 18, according to official results announced Saturday, setting the stage for a controversial third term.

But his main opponent Cellou Dalein Diallo, 68, disputes the results. He claimed victory last week, citing data collected by his activists at individual polling stations.

Diallo’s self-proclaimed victory led to a week-long clash between supporters and security forces across the nation.

The government had previously set the death toll at 10.

A diplomatic delegation from the United Nations, the African Union and the 15-nation economic community of West African states landed in Guinea on Sunday in the wake of the unrest.

The envoys – which include ECOWAS Commission President Jean-Claude Kassi Brou and the UN Special Representative in West Africa, Mohamed Ibn Chambas – met with several ministers and government officials on Monday.

An ECOWAS official in Conakry said they also spoke with representatives of Guinea’s election commission and foreign diplomats.

Diallo told AFP that the envoys also met him at his Conakry home, which police have been blocking for several days.

Anti-Conde protests were to resume in the city early Monday, and many shops remained closed, but few people ended up hitting the streets eventually.

“In my neighborhood, people say they’re waiting to see the outcome of the joint mission,” said a suburb who refused to be named.

Scars from the riots were evident in the Conakry district of Wanindara – an opposition castle – with burnt-out vehicles lying on the roads.

Mohamed Saliou Camara, whose house was burned, said Conde and Diallo supporters had clashes in the area.

Much of the turbulence revolves around a third period for Alpha Conde, which opponents accuse of having driven into authoritarianism.

He pushed through a new constitution in March, which he claimed would modernize the country. But it also allowed him to circumvent a two-term limit for presidents.

(AFP)