Monday, May 14, 2007

[Guinean news] Soldiers continue looting despite government concessions

The Guinean head of state, Gen. Lansana Conté, conceded one of the key demands of rioting soldiers by replacing the country's defense minister and the army chief on Saturday. However, troops continued to riot after the announcement. Soldiers apparently ransacked many shops and warehouses in Conakry, including offices of the UN Population Fund (UNFPA).

Witnesses said men in army uniforms stole vehicles and looted cacao, rice and sugar, as well electrical equipment such as generators.

Witness also said soldiers were responsible for a raid on UNFPA’s stores, stealing stocks of condoms as well as computer equipment. UN facilities were also targeted during a civil uprising earlier this year when World Food Programme warehouses in several towns were looted
, according the IRIN news service.

The rioting suggest that the regime's control is slipping even further.

The army’s agenda is unclear and it is currently “very disorganised,” Elisabeth Cote, who represents the Washington-based election support NGO IFES in Guinea told IRIN. “It seems likely the army doesn’t want [President] Conte anymore,” she said .“[If so] it doesn’t take much organising and then one considers it a coup.”

The capital was reported to be calm on Sunday and Monday.

Update: Guinéenews reports that the raiding of the UN Population Fund's warehouses resulted in over $326,000 in losses.

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