Guinea President Survives Shootout at His Home

Assassination attempt on Alpha Conde threatens to re-ignite violence

By Kevin Spak,  Newser Staff

Posted Jul 19, 2011 7:04 AM CDT

(Newser) – Gunmen assaulted the home of Guinea's first democratically elected president today, launching a firefight with his presidential guard that left one member of his security detail dead and parts of his house destroyed. Alpha Conde told the country about the attack in a state radio address, saying his men had "fought heroically at 3:10am." He urged calm, telling supporters to refrain from acts of reprisals against their ethnic rivals, the AP reports.

Residents of the neighborhood say the first shots rang out at around 2am and continued for hours. "We were scared all night long," one neighbor said. "It's only at dawn that it became calm again." The presidential guard has since blockaded the only bridge entering downtown Conakry. The incident threatens the country's fragile peace; Conde's election in November was originally met with a wave of ethnic violence, and he has stoked those tensions by appointing only ethnic Malinkes to his cabinet.

Portrait of Guinea's President Alpha Conde taken after a meeting with France's President Nicolas Sarkozy at the Elysee presidential Palace in Paris, on March 23, 2011.
Portrait of Guinea's President Alpha Conde taken after a meeting with France's President Nicolas Sarkozy at the Elysee presidential Palace in Paris, on March 23, 2011.   (Getty Images)
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