Wednesday, July 20, 2011

[Guinean news] President survives assassination attempts; coup attempt?

Guinean president Alpha Conde survived a middle of the night assassination attempt in which his residence in Conakry was assaulted with bullets and rockets. Three people were killed, including one bodyguard, according to the presidency.

The Canadian Press reported that: Conde was saved because he was sleeping in a different room when the shooting erupted outside his residence at around 3 a.m. Rocket-propelled grenades landed inside the compound and one of his bodyguards was killed, said Francois Louceny Fall, Conde's chief of staff. The bedroom was ripped apart, Conde told French radio RFI.

A second attack on his residence was launched hours later while Conde was meeting with the French ambassador.

Soldiers were quickly deployed throughout the capital.

The CP added: Country watchers had long predicted that holding a democratic vote would be only a first step in ending the army's stranglehold on Guinea. The bigger question is how the new leader relates to the military, whose members had total control of state affairs and who saw their privileges diminished by the election of a civilian president.

Amazingly, the size of the Guinean military quadrupled in the final years of the military junta.

Gen. Nouhou Thiam was one of those arrested, according to police. Thiam was army chief under the previous military regime and one of Conde's first acts was to replace him.

Guinea expert Mike McGovern at Yale University said, "It sounds like a coup attempt from within the army."

Reports indicate that activity in Conakry largely ground to a halt on Tuesday.

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