Africa

Guinea soldiers arrested for attack on president's home

  • 20 July 2011
  • From the section Africa
Rocket and bullet marks are seen on a wall of Guinea's President Alpha Conde's residence in Conakry this still image taken from video 19 July 2011
Alpha Conde's residence was hit by at least one rocket

At least 37 soldiers have been arrested in Guinea following the attack on President Alpha Conde's home, officials say.

The detained soldiers include high-ranking officers who were close to Guinea's former military junta, the officials said.

The junta handed power to Mr Conde last year after he won elections.

Forces loyal to Mr Conde repelled the attack on his private residence in the capital, Conakry, on Tuesday.

Officials said the building was hit by gunfire and rocket-propelled grenades.

At least one guard was killed, several more wounded and parts of the house were destroyed.

Mr Conde - Guinea's first democratically elected president - escaped unhurt.

'Change will continue'

The Economic Community of West African States (Ecowas) said the attack could destabilise Guinea and destroy efforts to build democracy.

"Ecowas calls for the perpetrators of this attack to be brought before the competent courts to answer for their actions," it said.

The BBC's Alhassan Sillah in Conakry says the arrested soldiers include former army chief Gen Nouhou Thiam, two colonels and members of the presidential guard of ex-military ruler Gen Sekouba Konate.

But Gen Konate - who is outside Guinea - has denounced the attack in media interviews, our reporter says.

He returned the country to civilian rule last year following widespread domestic and international pressure.

Our reporter says Conakry is returning to normality but soldiers are continuing to search vehicles, causing huge traffic jams.

Mr Conde called for calm in a state TV broadcast following the attack.

"Our enemies can try everything, but they cannot prevent the Guinean people's march towards democracy. Democracy has begun and it will continue, I promised you change and, God willing, change will happen," he said.

Last year, Mr Conde - a veteran opposition leader - won the first democratic elections since independence in 1958.

Guinea has a history of coups and ethnic conflict.

It has been particularly unstable since 2008 when President Lansana Conte, who ruled for 24 years, died.

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