Voting proceeds peacefully in Guinea

A presidential election in Guinea proceeded peacefully on Sunday despite a build-up marred by violence in recent days.

Security personnel and armoured vehicles patrolled the streets of Conakry throughout Sunday, while security checkpoints were set up around the city.

Earlier in the day President Alpha Conde, the front runner to win the election, appealed to people to vote peacefully.

“We are all the same family, please let us vote peacefully together,” he said after casting his vote in Conakry.

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Clashes broke out in several areas of Conakry on Saturday, when members of the ruling Rally of the Guinean People and opposition parties hurled rocks at each other.

In the country’s south-eastern Banankoro district, seven people were killed on Friday. Five of them were burned alive and two others were shot dead.

The violence erupted after the Constitutional Court ruled against a request by opposition parties, led by Cellou Dalein Diallo, 63, to postpone the election, which they say has been heavily rigged in favour of Conde, 77.

Much of the violence in Guinea is believed to be rooted in the political rivalry between the Malinke ethnic group, which backs Conde, and the Fulani, which backs Diallo.

Conde, a member of the Malinke, defeated Diallo in the country’s first democratic election in 2010 after years of military rule.