Guineans flee Conakry unrest, ethnic tension
Guineans flee Conakry unrest, ethnic tension IRIN
IRIN on Friday, June 7, 2013
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Politics [19]

Guinea’s political violence is hitting residents of the capital Conakry increasingly hard, with some families forced to flee their homes and others relocating for fear of ethnically based attacks.

President Alpha Condé has ordered an investigation into the latest violence, which followed a 23 May opposition protest over upcoming legislative elections. The government says 12 people were killed and about 100 others injured.

"It’s difficult to swallow - that fellow Guineans would come and ravage your home like this,” said a resident of Conakry’s Bambeto neighbourhood who requested anonymity.

He said that after the demonstration turned violent, men in gendarmes’ uniforms and civilian clothing ransacked his family’s house and two kiosks he rented out, stealing everything from cell phones to mattresses. They even ripped off parts of the roof.

“When I look at our roofless home, it gives me a stabbing pain. We Guineans don’t deserve this. We don’t deserve this.”

It is not clear how many people have been forced to flee their homes, but many residents told IRIN the latest violence has been alarming and voiced concerns about deepening inter-ethnic hostility. Many houses have been burned.

Government spokesman Damantang Albert Camara said local authorities were assessing the impact of the unrest, but he could not give an overall figure of those affected.

“Indeed there are families who have left their homes, either to avoid violence or because they’ve already been targeted,” Camara told IRIN. “Some have relocated out of concern for their security.”

A UN humanitarian worker in Conakry said that, for now, the organization was not assessing the impact of the violence, as the home-burnings were isolated incidents and there was no mass displacement. He said the UN is providing assistance to hospitals treating those wounded in the unrest.

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