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Democracy Under Attack In Guinea

  • Joan DeLuca

The damaged home of Guinean President Alpha Conde in Conakry, Guinea is seen after Conde narrowly survived an assassination attempt, July 19, 2011.

On July 19, Guinea’s new democracy was challenged with a failed assassination attempt.

Guinea turned an important corner last December with the inauguration of its first democratically elected president since independence from France in 1958. After decades of authoritarian and military rule, the West African nation set itself on a path of stability and democratic transition with the election of President Alpha Condé.

On July 19, Guinea’s new democracy was challenged with a failed assassination attempt on Condé, who has since reassured the people that those with anti-democratic aspirations will not be allowed to derail Guinea’s progress.

Unknown assailants descended on his home in the capital, Conakry, in a sustained rocket and gunfire attack that left one security guard dead. President Condé was unharmed in the attack and in a radio address a few hours later, called on the Guinean people to remain calm and avoid acts of reprisal.

The purpose of the attack is unclear in that no one has claimed responsibility to date. A former top military official, the army chief of staff in the government of former military dictator Captain Moussa Dadis Camara, was arrested along with a former member of the presidential guard.

What is clear, though, is that as change comes slowly in Guinea, some want to revert to the old ways of solving political differences. Given the large turnout in last year's election and the Guinean people's desire for popular government, that is unacceptable.

The United States condemns the recent attack in Conakry in the strongest terms. Overthrowing a democratic government through force and violence can bring only more violence and instability.

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