(formerly IRIN News) Journalism from the heart of crises

Opposition leader detained

Thierno Diallo, the editor of the Conakry-based weekly ‘Le Lynx’ told IRIN today (Wednesday) that the opposition leader and presidential candidate, Alpha Conde, was detained yesterday (Tuesday) at the Guinean-Ivorian border and was being escorted to the capital, Conakry.

The Ministry of Interior cabinet director, Kiridi Bangoura, said Conde was attempting to leave the country “disguised as a marabout”, a Moslem cleric, in contravention of a law which sealed all borders, news organisations reported. Reuters quoted Bangoura as saying that the government was shocked “that a man who aspires to rule the country would try to flee even as results of presidential elections in which he took part are awaited”.

Meanwhile, Diallo told IRIN that there had been attempts to provoke opposition leaders and supporters into taking action that would be seen as against the interests of the Guinean electorate. He said there had been unconfirmed reports of guns and ammunition found in the homes of opposition supporters. Diallo added that Conde’s detention would probably escalate tensions in Guinea and security forces were patrolling in opposition strongholds in Conakry.

The Guinean government sealed all it borders from 5 to 20 December in view of presidential elections held on 14 December. The radio station Africa No. 1 reported that following initial trends, it appeared that President Lansana Conte was in the lead in the polls.

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