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World News

Guinea president retains election lead as protests turn deadly

CONAKRY (Reuters) - Guinea’s President Alpha Conde retained his lead on Wednesday in provisional results from the Oct. 18 election, beating his challengers in 14 constituencies out of 20 that have been announced by the electoral commission.

Earlier in the day, Conde appealed for calm following deadly clashes between opposition supporters and police.

At least six people were killed, including two police officers, and many injured when supporters of Conde’s main rival Cellou Dalein Diallo set piles of old furniture and tyres on fire in some opposition neighbourhoods of Conakry, Security Minister Damantang Albert Camara said.

There were also clashes in opposition strongholds outside the capital, he said. Two people died in Kissidougou, a city in the south east of Guinea, about 700 km (435 miles) from Conakry.

“I reiterate my appeal to all to calm and serenity, pending the outcome of the electoral process under way in our country,” Conde said in a statement. “If victory is mine, I remain open to dialogue and available to work with all Guineans.”

At least 13 people are reported to have been killed in street skirmishes since the election, in which Diallo has claimed victory based on his campaign’s tallies.

Diallo carried six of the constituencies announced so far, according to the electoral commission’s official tally on Wednesday, with a further 18 remaining.

The push for a third term for Conde, 82, has sparked repeated protests over the past year, resulting in dozens of deaths. He says a constitutional referendum in March reset his two-term limit; his opponents say he is breaking the law by holding on to power.

Reporting By Saliou Samb; Writing by Hereward Holland; Editing by Kim Coghill

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