Guinean military declares emergency

Army decree is response to violence after the West African country's first democratic election post-independence.

    Defeated Guinean presidential candidate Cellou Dalein Diallo in the Cosa neighbourhood, a suburb of Conakry [AFP]

    Guinea's military has declared a state of emergency following violence after a tense presidential election.

    Nouhou Thiam, armed forces chief, read the decree Wednesday on state television. He said the decree prohibits civilians from circulating on the streets but did not give details.

    He said only military and security forces will have unrestricted movement.

    Thiam said the decree will be enforced until the Supreme Court declares final results from the November 7 poll.

    They have 8 days to do so after initial results were announced late Monday - allowing a decision by next week.

    Ethnic riots erupted when initial results of the polls was announced. Two main ethnic groups, the Malinke and the Peul make-up the bulk of Guinea's population.

    Presidential candidate Alpha Conde, a Malinke, was declared winner in the runoff, prompting Peul supporters of his opponent Cellou Dalein Diallo to riot. They burned tires, barricaded roads and destroyed the homes and businesses of Malinke neighbours.

    Diallo has challenged the results, citing massive voter fraud.

    "The situation is very tense in Guinea," Adam Gaye, a West African analyst, said. "This time around the army wants to control the situation, and they've decided to take charge."

    "You have really a legacy of military rule and of violence that will be very difficult to fix ... Conde has appealed to the defeated side to announce that it's necessary to build a national reconciliation government."

    The election was billed as the country's first democratic election since independence from France in 1958.

    SOURCE: Al Jazeera and agencies


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