CONAKRY (Reuters) - Two people died and several others were injured in overnight clashes in Guinea between opposition militants and government supporters, a police source and witnesses said on Tuesday.
The violence in the town of Gueckedou, around 700 km (420 miles) from the capital Conakry near the border with Liberia, followed days of protests against the town’s military prefect, whom the opposition accuses of abusing his power.
“The demonstrations and counter-demonstrations led to bloody clashes last night...These people were armed with machetes, clubs, sticks and other weapons. It was very violent,” a senior police officer said, asking not to be named.
“The result is two dead and several wounded,” he said.
Witnesses reached by telephone confirmed the deaths.
“There was fighting that led to two deaths. A gendarme cadet was also wounded,” said witness Paul Moussa Diawara.
Gueckedou is the hometown and stronghold of support for Jean-Marc Telliano, who was sacked as agriculture minister by President Alpha Conde in October amid public accusations of corruption in the West African country.
Following his dismissal, Telliano joined the opposition and announced his intention to help defeat Conde’s ruling RPG party in the next legislative elections.
Conde was elected president of Guinea, the world’s top supplier of the aluminum ore bauxite, in late 2010. That vote ended military rule but was tainted by deadly riots and opposition complaints of fraud.
His government has been trying to organize legislative elections, the last major step in the transition back to civilian rule and a prerequisite to unlock millions of dollars in frozen aid. But progress has been slowed by opposition worries that the electoral body is biased.
Reporting By Saliou Samb; writing by Joe Bavier; editing by Mark Heinrich