Guinea's Conde drops final campaign rally amid security worries

Reuters News
Posted: Oct 09, 2015 8:53 AM

CONAKRY (Reuters) - Guinea President Alpha Conde's last campaign rally ahead of an Oct. 11 election was canceled on Friday due to security concerns, a day after his supporters clashed with opposition backers, leaving at least one dead and 20 injured.

Though the West African bauxite producer's economy has been hammered by Ebola and slumping commodities prices, Conde, whose election in 2010 ended two years of brutal military rule, is favored to win a second term.

He rejected on Thursday a demand by opposition candidates for a postponement of the vote to allow time to rectify what they said were irregularities in the process.

"The rally that we planned to receive the president today was canceled to preserve peace and calm," Conde's campaign manager Ibrahima Kassory Fofana told a private radio station.

Analysts predict disputes over election preparations and the eventual results may ignite ethnic violence between supporters of Conde and his main rival Cellou Dalein Diallo in a country with a history of poll violence.

On Thursday, as Diallo returned to the capital Conakry after a country-wide campaign tour, his supporters clashed with stone-throwing backers Conde's Rally of the Guinean People (RPG).

Conakry residents later reported looting and the sounds of gunshots in some parts of the city.

Though the situation was calm on Friday morning, the last day for campaigning before Sunday's vote, burned shops and cars dotted one Conakry thoroughfare, and Conde supporters sang songs on street corners.

Last week, fighting between the same two political parties left scores injured in the Forest Region.

(Reporting by Saliou Samb; Additional reporting by Luc Gnago; Writing by Makini Brice; Editing by Joe Bavier)