Friday 23 March 2018

Guinea moves to quell deadly unrest in mining town

Guinea moves to quell deadly unrest in mining town
(AFP (eng) 09/18/17)
Boureima Conde, minister for territorial administration and decentralisation

Guinea's government said Sunday that it was sending electric generators to the mining town of Boke to help ease tensions after deadly clashes sparked by protests against water and power cuts.

The town's prefect has also been dismissed as officials try to restore order to the town, where shops and markets have been looted and vehicles destroyed during protests which have also seen armed youths set up barricades to take de facto control.

Boureima Conde, minister for territorial administration and decentralisation, said in a statement on state TV that the town's prefect, Mohamed Lamine Doumbouya, was fired by President Alpha Conde on Saturday.

The president has also instructed Prime Minister Mamady Youla "to take measures designed to shine a light on the two deaths and that those responsible face the law," the minister said.

The protests began on Tuesday against electricity and power cuts in a city known for its bauxite mines, where residents have long claimed they have not profited from the area's mineral wealth.

Hundreds of people remain stuck at the entrance and exit of the town, Boureima Conde said, unable to pass through with goods from neighbouring Gambia, Guinea-Bissau and Senegal.

More than 50 civilians have been injured in the clashes, and more than 20 police, he added.

Boke is no stranger to unrest. Pollution caused by bauxite mining and a lack of electricity and clean water for the local population led to April protests that killed one person and injured dozens.

Guinea is one of the world's poorest countries despite its vast mineral wealth.

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