Guinea president, opposition meet after anti-govt protests

September 2, 2016 8:32 am
Guinea’s President Alpha Conde (R) shakes hands with opposition leader Cellou Dalein Diallo during their meeting at the presidential palace in Conakry © AFP / Cellou Binani

, Conakry, Guinea, Sep 2 – Guinea’s President Alpha Conde and opposition leader Cellou Dalein Diallo met for talks, two weeks after violent protests over alleged government corruption swept the capital.

One man was shot dead by police and several others were injured as at least half a million people rallied in Conakry to denounce what they said was economic mismanagement by Conde’s government.

“We discussed the political, economic and social situation,” Diallo told reporters after the meeting.

“There was convergence of views on many issues. There were differences that we tried to iron out through the discussion… and we managed to resolve our differences,” added Diallo, the leader of the Union of Democratic Forces of Guinea who has twice lost to Conde in presidential polls.

Conde said the meeting had covered “many points” and that the two would now meet regularly.

“We decided to have regular meetings… We all want the best for Guinea, Guinea’s citizens. So it is totally normal that there are regular exchanges between the president of the republic and the opposition leader,” Conde said.

“It will prevent manipulation by one side or the other,” the president added.

The rally on August 17 organised by several opposition parties had passed peacefully until shots were fired by police as the protesters began to disperse, according to witnesses and an AFP journalist who was on the scene.

It was not clear what prompted the intervention by security forces.

The police officer who killed the protester — identified as 21- year-old Thierno Hamidou Diallo — has been arrested, security minister Abdoul Kabele Camara said.

The officer fired “despite strict orders”, Camara said.

Guinea’s constitutional court in November 2015 formally confirmed Conde’s re-election, dismissing opposition claims of vote-rigging and fraud.

It was only the second democratic presidential poll since Guinea gained independence from France in 1958.

Despite the country being rich in minerals, most of the population in Guinea live in poverty and survive on less than one euro ($1.08) per day, according to the UN.


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