Guinea Arrests Dozens of Soldiers After Failed Assassination

Posted July 20th, 2011 at 5:40 pm (UTC-5)
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Guinean authorities have arrested at least 37 soldiers in connection with a failed attempt to assassinate the recently-elected President Alpha Conde.

A military source said Wednesday many of the detained soldiers have ties to Guinea's previous military leaders.

A top defense official, Abdoul Kabele Camara, told VOA the investigation was ongoing.

Camara confirmed that Alpha Oumar Diallo, a well-known military figure and a close ally of former President Lansana Conte, was almong those arrested. He said Diallo, known as AOB, had “serious injuries.” He said a number of the detained soldiers had been transported to the hospital.

President Conde survived two attacks Tuesday on his home in the capital, Conakry.

Mr. Conde said in a nationwide broadcast after the first attack that gunmen had targeted his bedroom with gunfire and a bazooka in early morning hours. He said he survived because he was not sleeping in the room, and said a member of the presidential guard was killed.

President Conde appealed in his broadcast for calm and national unity.

Hours later, shooting broke out again near his home.

Soon after the attacks, Guinean authorities arrested the former head of the Guinean army, General Nouhou Thiam, as well as a a former member of the presidential guard.

Thiam was fired earlier this year by President Conde soon after he took office.

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

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.