Guinea’s Top Army Commander Killed Two Days Before Election

Armed men attacked a military base in western Guinea overnight, killing the camp’s commander, Col Mamady Condé, the defence minister said on Friday.

The attack comes two days before the West African country votes in a bitterly-disputed presidential election, where incumbent President Alpha Condé is running for a controversial third term.

Defence Minister Mohamed Diané said the attack in the city of Kindia, 130km (80 miles) north-east of the capital, Conakry, was now under control.

“On the night of Thursday October 15 to Friday October 16, 2020, armed men opened fire in the compound of the Samoreyah military camp in Kindia fatally wounding Colonel Mamady Condé, commander of the Special Commando Battalion awaiting Somoreyah-BSCA “, the defence minister said in a press release.

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” The Defense Forces immediately reacted to secure the camp and its surrounding.”

Residents of the nearby neighbourhood heard gunshots at 02:00 local time and heavy shooting continued for five hours.

Sources claimed the attackers were dressed in military fatigues and seized arms and vehicles before fleeing the scene.

There were also reports of an attempted mutiny and that soldiers had seized weapons to free some of their colleagues who had been detained.

The authorities said a search is underway to find the soldiers involved.

The timing of the incident is likely to raise alarm. Voters head to the polls on Sunday to decide whether to award President Conde a third term in office, following a campaign marred by violence and divisive appeals to ethnic identities.

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Kindia residents said a prison in the city was also attacked, wounding an official there and allowing several inmates to escape.

Conde’s candidacy for a third term after 10 years in power has drawn fierce criticism from his opponents, who say it violates the constitution.

Conde, 82, says he has the right to run again under a new constitution approved by referendum in March, arguing that it resets the clock on the two-term limit.

About 30 people were killed in protests before and after the referendum, and several people have been injured in clashes during the campaign between supporters of rival candidates.

Two days before the March referendum, gunfire broke out on a military base in Conakry, but it did not affect the vote.

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