Guinea authorities arrest nearly 80 suspects after attack on president

[JURIST] Guinea authorities have arrested between 70 and 80 suspects accused of plotting an attack on President Alpha Conde [official website] Wednesday. Assailants launched rocket-propelled grenades at Condes' home, and three people were killed, including one of his bodyguards. The suspects include [Reuters report] former army leader General Nouhou Thiam and a past member of Conde's presidential guard. Conde delivered an address later in the day on state radio assuring investors that the country is not unstable and asking citizens to remain calm [AP report] and unite. The attacks were "strongly condemned" by UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-Moon [official website] who urged the citizens of Guinea to maintain peace and democracy [statement] in the country. The US Department of State [official website] also issued a statement condemning the attacks [text]:

The Guinean people fought long and hard for the right to choose their leader and have a representative government. Overthrowing a democratic government through force is unacceptable. These violent acts undermine democracy and the rule of law and threaten stability in the region. The United States calls on the people of Guinea to remain committed to the principles of democracy and to express disagreements through peaceful means.
In December, the Supreme Court of Guinea declared Conde the winner [JURIST report] of the country's presidential run-off election held in November. This election ended two years of military rule under a transitional government formed by military captain Moussa Dadis Camara [BBC profile], who staged a coup in the wake of the death of form president Lansana Conte [Guardian profile], who ruled the nation for 24 years.

Guinea was also embroiled in political violence late last year when the presidential election gave way to post-election violence [JURIST report], resulting in the deaths of seven people and causing the government to declare a state of emergency. The deputy prosecutor of the International Criminal Court (ICC) lamented the killings along with the UN Office of High Commissioner for Human Rights (OHCHR). In October, the OHCHR expressed concern that security forces in Guinea "committed serious human rights violations" [JURIST report] in subduing demonstrations. In September, two Guinean election officials were convicted of election fraud [JURIST report] and sentenced to a year in jail in connection with irregularities that arose in the June presidential primary election, one incident in a string of controversies responsible for multiple delays of the runoff, which was initially scheduled for July [Reuters report]. In May, the ICC sent a delegation from the Office of the Prosecutor (OTP) [official website] to Guinea to further investigate the killing [JURIST report] of more than 150 pro-democracy protesters in Conakry in September 2009. The protesters had rallied against Camara, who announced in October that he intended to push elections forward three months and stand for election, breaking a promise not to run made shortly after he took power. Camara was ultimately forced into exile two months later after an assassination attempt staged by one of his aides.

 

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