African News

Guinea: Lansana Conte May Soon Go.

By  | 12 February 2007 at 22:33 | 852 views

Over 50 people have died in the recent disturbances in Guinea-Conakry and our sources in that troubled country have predicted that this is the beginning of the end of the ageing and sick president Lansana Conte’s political career.

Last weekend has been highly dramatic and tragic all over Guinea as houses were torched, property looted and people killed in almost all the regions.The recent disturbances were sparked when Conte appointed a confidante and ally, Eugene Camara, as Prime Minister, much to the anger of the protesters, who rejected Camara and asked for somebody neutral. They also repeated that Conte himself should step down.Eugene was a Governor of Guinea’s central bank.

In Conakry, on Saturday,the demonstrators went on the rampage in places like Ratoma, Matam, Matoto and Bonfi burning police stations and looting rice from rice stores.The Ratoma municipal offices were ransacked and millions of Guinean francs carted away, according to Le Diplomate Guinee, a Guinean newspaper. The buildings housing Sotelgui and Western Union were also destroyed for reasons yet unclear.An unconfirmed BBC report says two soldiers were killed by the protesters.

The Conakry residence of the president of Guinea Bissau, Nino Viera was also ransacked. Viera is a friend of Lansana Conte and the demonstrators fear he might send mercenaries to help Conte if things really get out of hand.

In Nzerekore, on the Ivorian border, the house of Eugene Camara was burnt to the ground. In Kankan, Pita, Labe and Mamou, many government buildings and the residences of government officials were also completely destroyed and prisoners released from jail. In Siguiri, the house of the Finance minister was smashed to the ground and property carted away.

Donka hospital in Conakry, Guinea’s largest, was filled to the brim with the sick and wounded and hospital authorities are making arrangements for some of the patients to give space to the new arrivals.

Meanwhile Air France and other airlines have suspended flights to Guinea and some embassies have started evacuating their citizens.

According to a BBC report, neighbouring governments, especially those in Sierra Leone and Liberia are worried about developments in Guinea because they fear spill-over effects.

Conte has meanwhile declared martial law in the country today; this forbids all public demonstrations but we are yet to see whether the demonstrators will abide by it.

Gunshots were heard earlier today at the Alpha Yaya barracks in Conakry. Some soldiers were protesting the delay over their promotions. The government immediately announced their promotions.

The protesters,lead by the country’s trade unions, are asking Conte to appoint Ba Mamadou, a veteran opposition politician, as Prime Minister to reflect power-sharing.

Photo: The embattled and beleagured president Lansana Conte.