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Firefight between Guinea's army and cops

©

Latest update : 2008-06-17

Guinea soldiers fired upon striking police officers in a raid on an elite unit headquarters. The police are striking over low pay, while the soldiers' attack may have been instigated by a police seizure of an army vehicle.

Soldiers from the Guinea army exchanged gunfire with striking police officers on Tuesday, police and military sources said.
  
The sources said the shots were fired during a raid by soldiers on the headquarters of a specialist police intervention unit near the centre of the capital Conakry.
  
One police source also accused soldiers of looting several police stations during the night.
  
A military source, who declined to be named, told AFP that the clashes appeared to be a revenge attack for an incident on Monday when striking policemen stopped two soldiers and seized their vehicle.
  
"The soldiers felt humiliated," the source said.
  
The soldiers on Tuesday attacked several police locations and took 34 police officers to a military base in the heart of Conakry.
  
"Soldiers are searching all cars looking for policemen," the source said.
  
In the early afternoon army troops attacked the camp of Guinea's elite police force, where the strike originated. The exchange left dozens of soldiers wounded.
  
However the military source said the soldiers did not act on official orders.
  
Police in Guinea are striking for increased pay. Their action came on the heels of a similar strike by the military which was only resolved after the government agreed to pay back wages and offer widespread promotions.
  
A police delegation was set to meet Prime Minister Ahmed Tidiane Souare later Tuesday.
  
The soldiers' pay protests had left at least three people dead and dozens wounded. President Lansana Conte has ruled mineral-rich Guinea with an iron fist since 1984.
  
After a week of relative calm following the soldiers' protests, on Monday police officers aired their grievances. Several of them fired their guns into the air at the grounds of an elite police camp in a suburb of Conakry.
  
Some of them later took four of their superiors hostage, and several senior police officials who came to negotiate their release were also taken hostage, including the director of the police intelligence agency.
  
They were released shortly before midnight with the promise to meet with new prime minister, a confidant of Conte who was appointed to the post last month but who has still not formed a government.

Date created : 2008-06-17

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