Monday, April 30, 2007

[Guinean news] Unions warn government of threats; PM says country not ready for June elections

Last Monday, several hundred street traders ransacked and set fire to a police station in Kindia, in western Guinea.

The attack came after a local merchant claimed that about 15 armed police had barged into his home overnight Saturday, tied him up and raped his wife and daughter. They also allegedly stole property including money and gems, reported the French news agency AFP.

AFP also reported on warnings by the country's trade unions that certain elements of society were trying undermine the new consensus prime minister Lansana Kouyaté.

The unions warned Kouyaté that since his swearing in, "many actions have been undertaken and supported by people and structures dedicated to making [him] fail."

The memorandum cited "the exit of huge sums of money, from the accounts of the army or the presidency, in violation of the fiscal discipline that was put in place" adding that the new government's most important job was "the restoration of the authority of the state in both the interior and outside the country...."

Underlining that challenge, Kouyaté said the country was not ready for parliamentary elections scheduled for June.

"Territorial administration doesn't exist at the moment in the interior. Because of people's anger during the strike, many prefects and sub-prefects are currently in Conakry. Some are even persona non grata in the areas they govern," the prime minister told Reuters.

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