Guinean soldiers seize army number two in wage protest

May 27th, 2008 - 8:31 pm ICT by admin  

Nairobi/Conakry, May 27 (DPA) Guinean troops angry over years of unpaid wages have captured the deputy head of the army and shot the major in charge of army finances, reports said Tuesday. The BBC said that soldiers seized General Manadou Sampil on Monday when he went to negotiate with them at the Alfa Yaya Diallo base in the capital city Conakry.

Local website Horizon Guinee reported that Major Korka Diallo was subsequently shot and seriously injured outside the base, although the circumstances surrounding the shooting remain murky.

Soldiers at Alfa Yaya Diallo and other bases had been firing their weapons into the air to mark their displeasure.

The soldiers, who say they are owed money dating back to 1996, also took their protest to the streets of the nearby district of Yimbaya.

President Lansana Conte summoned his new Prime Minister Tidiane Souare and other government officials for crisis talks.

There followed a television announcement with the government calling for calm and offering to release soldiers arrested after protests last year, the BBC said.

The soldiers are also reportedly unhappy over the sacking last week of Souare’s predecessor, Lansana Kouyate, who was appointed in 2007 in a move designed to end widespread rioting and a general strike against Conte’s rule.

Rank and file troops feel they cannot take their grievances to Souare, who is a close ally of Conte.

Conte took control of Guinea in a bloodless coup in 1984 and has since kept a tight grip on the nation.

He has won three presidential elections since restoring civilian rule in 1993, although he needed a referendum to change the constitution to remove a two-term limit on the president.

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