guinea PM

Guinea PM’s convoy stoned in opposition heartland

F.P Report

Conakry:  Protesters in a Guinean opposition stronghold pelted rocks at the prime minister’s convoy, the government said Wednesday, adding that the attack marked an attempt to “sabotage” next month’s presidential election.

Prime Minister Ibrahima Kassory Fofana, who is President Alpha Conde’s campaign manager, was travelling in central Guinea on Tuesday when his convoy was attacked, causing several injuries, according to a government statement on Wednesday.

The incident occurred in the Fouta-Djalon region — a bastion of the main opposition candidate contesting the October 18 election, Cellou Dalein Diallo.

It also follows months of political tension in the poor West African state, where Conde is running for a controversial third presidential term.

The 82-year-old pushed through a new constitution in March, allowing him to reset the two-term presidential limit to zero.

Opposition to that possibility triggered a wave of protests from October last year during which dozens of people were killed.

On Wednesday, the government said that the convoy attack was part of a “concerted plan to sabotage the electoral process”.

The UFDG has denied involvement in the attack, according to local press reports, and some party officials cast doubt on the government’s account.

AFP was unable to independently confirm the details of the incident.

Conde became Guinea’s first democratically-elected president in 2010 and won re-election five years later.

Rights groups have accused him of drifting into authoritarianism, however.

This month, the president drew criticism for apparently stoking ethnic tensions ahead of the October election.

In a campaign speech delivered in the Malinke language, the president told voters that backing an opposition Malinke candidate amounted to voting for Cellou Dalein Diallo.

Guinea’s politics are mostly drawn along ethnic lines. President Conde’s party is largely backed by Malinke people, and Diallo’s UFDG by Fulani people, although both insist that they are pluralist.

Diallo is a former prime minister who was heavily involved in the protest campaign against a Conde a third term.

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