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Guinean President Alpha Conde during a press conference at the Elysee Palace, Paris, France, Nov. 22, 2017 (Photo by Jacques Witt for Sipa via AP Images).

Frustrated With Street Protests in Guinea, Conde Sends in the Soldiers

Thursday, Dec. 6, 2018

Late last month, officials in the West African nation of Guinea announced that policing in the capital, Conakry, would be undergoing some changes. Specifically, they said soldiers would be deployed alongside police officers and gendarmes as part of new mixed patrols. The inauguration of these patrols, they said, was a necessary response to weeks of violent, sometimes fatal protests over issues ranging from low teacher pay to suspected election fraud.

News of the patrols sparked a forceful outcry from opposition politicians and human rights activists, who denounced their creation as a legally baseless maneuver intended to quell dissent primarily in neighborhoods sympathetic to the opposition. But Guinean authorities have refused to back down, insisting the government has the authority to organize the patrols to manage “exceptional situations.” “The law is very clear on this,” Elhadj Cellou Camara, a spokesman for the armed forces, told Radio France Internationale. “So it is totally wrong to say that it is not written that the army can participate in mixed patrols to secure an area where there is rampant insecurity.” ...

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