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Guinea: army base attacked, colonel killed ahead polls

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Guinea was in the final hours of a feverish election campaign on Friday as security forces blocked access to central Conakry for unknown reasons, while a high-ranking official was killed in a military camp east of the capital.

No official explanation was given for the setting up of roadblocks blocking access to the Kaloum neighborhood, where Guinean decision-making centers are located.

A police officer deployed in the center said that President Alpha Condé is scheduled to travel to the outskirts of the capital for a final campaign meeting before Sunday’s presidential election, where he is running for a third consecutive and contested term. These statements could not be verified.

Apart from the near absence of traffic in a city that is normally close to saturation and an exceptional tranquility in streets that are usually tumultuous, the capital offered few signs of tension.

On the other hand, during the night, about 100 kilometers northeast of Conakry, “armed men opened fire inside the Samoreyah military camp in Kindia, fatally wounding Colonel Mamady Condé,” said Defense Ministry spokesman Aladji Cellou on his Facebook page.

Colonel Condé was the commander of the camp’s battalion of commandos, where the Guinean peacekeepers deployed in Kidal, northeastern Mali, are based.

“The defense forces reacted immediately to secure the camp and its surroundings. The situation is under control in Kindia. Investigations are open and sweeps are continuing,” the spokesman added.

A military source in the camp on condition of anonymity said that the officer killed, facing accusations of “nepotism, ethnocentrism and especially of having blocked bonuses for soldiers returning from Kidal”, had been threatened on several occasions.

No link could be established between the events in Kindia and the measures taken in the capital.

Blocking access to the center of Conakry is easy, as the center of Conakry is located on a peninsula.

Guineans interviewed in Conakry are concerned about the conduct of Sunday’s vote and even more about its aftermath, in a country accustomed to physical confrontation in politics.