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Last Updated: Wednesday, 19 January, 2005, 19:48 GMT
Guinea leader 'survives coup bid'
Guinea's President Lansana Conte
President Conte won a third term in 2003 elections despite poor health
Shots fired at a convoy carrying Guinea's ailing President Lansana Conte were an assassination attempt, his security minister says.

"There was an attempt on the life of the head of state, but the assailants did not hit their target," Moussa Sampil told Radio France International.

Mr Sampil said that the president was unhurt and that a number of people had been detained.

Security has been tightened around the presidential palace.

The incident happened a year after the president was sworn in for a third term, following his victory in controversial elections.

Map of Guinea

Details of the incident are still sketchy, but the BBC's Alhassan Sillah in Conakry says shots were fired as the convoy passed through a neighbourhood of the capital known as Enco 5 at around 1500 (1500 GMT).

It is not known who fired the shots or whether they hit any of the vehicles in the president's convoy.

The president's bodyguards returned fire, and reports say a member of the president's security team riding a motorcycle alongside the convoy was wounded.

Turbulent region

Mr Conte, 69, seized power in a coup in 1984.

He won a third term in elections in December 2003, after Guinea's constitution was changed to allow him to stand again.

Mr Conte is a diabetic, and correspondents say doubts about the president's health have led to worries about a possible future power struggle.

There have been no reports on the incident on state-controlled television or media.

Members of the government were meeting on Wednesday afternoon in the presidential building, according to the Reuters news agency.

Guinea, a mineral-rich country bordering Sierra Leone and Liberia, has been viewed as generally stable in an otherwise turbulent region.

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20 Dec 03 |  Africa
Country profile: Guinea
09 Nov 04 |  Country profiles

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