At least one killed in Guinea riots over power outage

Reuters News
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Posted: Jan 16, 2012 2:04 PM

CONAKRY (Reuters) - At least one person was killed during riots in a bauxite mining town in Guinea on Monday over power outages, witnesses said.

They were protesting after repeated power outages in Kamsar, where the world's top exporter of bauxite CBG, operates a venture between Alcoa, Rio Tinto and the Guinean government, shipping around 13 million tons per year.

Guinean authorities were not immediately available for comment on the incident, about 300 km northwest of the capital Conakry.

A CBG official who requested not to be named, said protesters had blocked the railway used to transported bauxite but said that they were dislodged by the army. The official said CBG was continuing normal operations while staying vigilant.

"The people of Kamsar are angry and have demanded to be better served with electricity. They said they want to be served directly by the electricity from the bauxite plant," said resident Mohamed Camara who witnessed the rioting.

Another witness said groups of students leaving school, joined the protest and exacerbated the already tense situation, which lead to "at least one young man being killed and four others injured," the witness said without giving further details.

"The police station and gendarmerie were ransacked by protesters. This provoked a reaction from the law enforcement officers," another resident said.

The minerals-rich West African nation is prone to social strife, with locals taking to the streets and blocking mining operations to make their voice heard.