Guinean President Survives 2 Attacks

Posted July 19th, 2011 at 5:20 pm (UTC-5)
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Guinea's President Alpha Conde survived two attacks Tuesday on his home in the capital, Conakry, including an assassination attempt in the early morning hours.

Mr. Conde said in a nationwide broadcast that gunmen targeted his bedroom with gunfire and a bazooka in the pre-dawn attack. He said he survived because he was not sleeping in the room.

He praised the presidential guard for holding off the attackers, and he confirmed a report that one guard member was killed.

Hours later, shooting broke out again near his home.

Guinean authorities have arrested at least two military figures related to the first attack. Sources say one of the two is the former head of the Guinean army, General Nouhou Thiam. He was fired by Mr. Conde soon after the president took office seven months ago.

Officials say a former member of the presidential guard was arrested in connection with the second attack.

United Nations Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon condemned the assassination attempt on President Conde. In a statement, Mr. Ban urged Guineans to refrain from acts likely to undermine the “ongoing peaceful and democratic process” in the country.

President Conde renewed an appeal for calm and national unity in his nationwide broadcast after the first attack.

Mr. Conde took office seven months ago after winning Guinea's first democratic election since the country won independence in 1958.

The country has a history of authoritarian rule and coups. The most recent coup was in December 2008, when a group of military officers seized power after the death of longtime ruler Lansana Conte.

A transition government led by General Sekouba Konate steered the country to a presidential election last year.