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Conde survives assassination bid

Conde survives assassination bid
Guinea President Alpha Conde has survived an assassination bid

Published: 11:32am, 19th July 2011
Updated: 5:50pm, 19th July 2011

Guinea's democratically elected president survived an assassination attempt on Tuesday morning when gunmen descended on his home.

The attack throws into doubt the political stability of this country with a history of coups and military rule.

President Alpha Conde later addressed the nation on state radio, saying that his presidential guard "had fought heroically at 3.10am" when his home came under attack by unidentified commandos.

At least one member of his security detail was killed, several more were wounded and portions of his house were destroyed, said Francois Fall, a minister at the presidency.

Mr Conde, who was elected just seven months ago in a vote deemed to be Guinea's first free and fair election, called on the population to stay calm and avoid acts of reprisal.

"If your hand is in the hand of God, nothing can happen to you," he said. "Our enemies can try everything, but they will not stop the march of the Guinean people."

Guinea held its first free and fair election last November, a half-century after winning independence from France.

Mr Conde won, but the capital devolved into ethnic riots as his supporters, who like him are mostly from the Malinke ethnic group, clashed with supporters of the defeated candidate, who are mostly Peul.

Frustration has been growing because Mr Conde has failed to create an inclusive government, instead stacking it with members of his ethnicity, and because the country's grinding poverty has not yet been alleviated.

His relationship with the military - which has been behind every one of Guinea's past coups including the most recent in 2008 - has been strained.

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