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Africa
Guinea arrests troops after assassination bid
At least 38 soldiers held after failed assassination attempt against president Alpha Conde earlier this week.
Last Modified: 22 Jul 2011 06:30
Guinea presidential guards patrol near the residence of Alpha Conde [AFP]

At least 38 soldiers have been arrested over an assassination attempt on president Alpha Conde of Guinea, who was nearly killed on Tuesday when his home was bombarded with rockets.

An official of the Guinean government told the AP news agency on Thursday that many of the men arrested have ties to Guinea's previous military rulers.

Conde, 73, escaped unhurt from the incident, but a member of his presidential guard was killed and two others injured as they fought off the attack for over two hours.

Two days after the attack, the United Nations said it is more determined than ever to support military reforms in Guinea.

Speaking during a visit to Conakry, the capital, Said Djinnit, the UN special representative to West Africa, said the assault on Conde's base showed "weaknesses remain in Guinea's defence and security systems" and "reinforces the UN's determination to support the country" in its military reforms.

"I saw the damage," Djinnit told the AFP news agency after a visit to Conde's home, adding that it showed the attackers "clearly intended to kill the president".

Anti-corruption measures

In an interview with French radio, Conde, the African nation's first democratically elected leader, suggested the attack may have been masterminded by rogue army officers displeased at recent anti-corruption measures.

Conde is tasked with overhauling a security apparatus which has often come under fire from rights groups for brutality, and has been at the vanguard of countless coups and attempted coups since independence from France in 1958.

Military engineer Captain Mamadou Oury Diallo, was arrested on Thursday, bringing to 38 the number of officers being held over the attack.

Another officer reported as arrested, Colonel Tidiane Camara, a friend of General Sekouba Konate, who led a transition government in 2010, said he had refused to surrender to gendarmes without an arrest warrant.

Most of those arrested are close allies of Konate and Moussa Dadis Camara, who led a military government in Guinea between 2008 and 2009.

Former army chief Nouhou Thiam, who was arrested on Tuesday, is still in custody and considered a suspect.

Source:
Agencies
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