Guinea communal clashes leave at least 11 dead

A hospital in the town of Guéckédou, in the Guinea-Liberia border region where the clashes took place. (Creative Commons / L. Lartigue)
A hospital in the town of Guéckédou, in the Guinea-Liberia border region where the clashes took place. (Creative Commons / L. Lartigue)

Two days of communal clashes in southeast Guinea have left at least 11 people dead and more than 40 wounded, officials said Sunday.

The violence between mostly Muslim Tomas Mania and mostly animist Tomas was sparked Saturday by the unveiling of a new house for the Tomas patriarch in the town of Macenta, local sources told AFP.

Police reinforcements from neighbouring towns failed to stop the fighting Sunday and several of their number had been injured, a prefectural source said.

Witnesses said many residents had fled and taken shelter in the surrounding forest.

Eleven corpses were brought to the local hospital between Saturday and Sunday, according to regional governor Mohamed Ghare.

Kaba Conde, the director of the hospital, said most could not be identified due to injuries sustained from machetes, clubs and stones.

The rival sides had also used hunting rifles against each other, he added.

The Tomas and Tomas Mania both claim to have founded the town of Macenta, and clash regularly, often over land issues, according to the official.

Communal violence is common in the southern region near the border with Liberia, where clashes between groups regularly break out over religious and other grievances.

In 2013 at least 95 people died and around 100 more were wounded in a week of clashes in the south of the impoverished West African country.