West African nation holds presidential runoff expected to end two years of military rule.
|Tensions mounted ahead of the official announcement as youths threw stones at security forces [AFP]|
Deadly clashes have erupted in Guinea hours ahead of results of its first democratic presidential election since independence from France over 50 years ago.
At least one person was killed and dozens injured in clashes between security forces and
supporters of Cellou Dalein Diallo, a presidential candidate.
Soldiers fired on a group of protesters who lobbed stones and other objects at them, in the streets of Conakry, Guinea’s capital, police and witnesses said.
The violence comes ahead of the announcement of presidential election results later on Monday, which Diallo threatens to reject as his rival Alpha Conde is already claiming victory in the run-off election.
Veteran opposition leader Conde, 72, said he had “clearly” won the run-off, while former prime minister Diallo said results “purged” of fraud showed him to be the winner.
The two candidates were neck and neck according to partial results in the crucial vote which aims to end 52 years of dictatorship and military rule in the west African country.
“I have won four out of five districts in Conakry, all of the Lower Guinea prefectures except for Boke, all of the Forest prefectures and Upper Guinea. How could I not win?”
Conde called a press conference earlier on Monday claiming victory and urging that the announcement of results go ahead.
“I know I have won,” he said.
“I have won four out of five districts in Conakry, all of the Lower Guinea prefectures except for Boke, all of the Forest prefectures and Upper Guinea. How could I not win?” he added.
Diallo later claimed he was the rightful winner and again threatened to reject the results if they were released on Monday without his side’s allegations of widespread voting fraud being examined.
He said he based his calculations on results “purged” of flagrant fraud.
Tensions mounted ahead of the official announcement as youths threw stones and other objects at security forces, erecting barricades and burning tyres.
“Soldiers fired on a group of protesters” killing one of them in Ratoma, a suburb of Conakry, a police source said, adding that “dozens were injured”.
Ratoma is the only Conakry district where Diallo came out on top, with 67 per cent of the votes, partial results showed.
The November 7 election was hailed as peaceful, but observers raised fears of further violence after a campaign marred by ethnic clashes between supporters of Diallo, who is Fulani, and Conde, who is of the Malinke ethnic group.
Guinea has been presided over by a transitional military-led government since a coup in December 2008 followed the death of President Lansana Conte, who held power for 24 years.
General Sekouba Konate, the interim president, led Guinea to its first ever democratic election, with a first round taking place on June 27 from which Diallo emerged with 43 per cent of the vote, while Conde garnered 18 per cent.