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Last Updated: Saturday, 12 May 2007, 21:56 GMT 22:56 UK
Guinea soldiers riot over talks
Guinean soldiers stand guard on the streets of the capital, Conakry (file picture)
Soldiers say they were promised a pay rise after a 1996 army mutiny
Discontented soldiers have again rioted in the Guinean capital, Conakry.

They are angry that President Lansana Conte failed to turn up to a meeting to hear grievances over pay and housing.

A brief calm had returned to the capital, Conakry, after President Lansana Conte sacked the defence minister and army chief of staff.

The sackings followed days of rioting by soldiers seeking improved working conditions and the re-instatement of military leaders sacked after a coup.

Six people have been killed in two days of protests in Conakry and other towns.

Gunshots heard

Soldiers flooded the streets around Conakry's main army base and broke out in cheers when it was announced that Mr Conte had sacked Defence Minister Arafan Camara and army chief Gen Kerfalla Camara.

But the celebrations turned to anger when the president failed to turn up to a promised meeting to discuss the soldiers' other demands, which include better pay and housing.

Gunfire was heard throughout the capital, as soldiers shot into the air.

Correspondents say the soldiers are not yet in a mood to be pacified.

Army mutiny

General Bailo Diallo, a retired former head of Guinea's ground forces, has been named as the new defence minister.

A total of five top army commanders have been replaced.

"Conte has responded to an important demand of the Guinean army," said Lt Ibrahima Bah, one of the soldiers involved in the mutiny, said as the sackings were announced.

"General Bailo is a high-ranking officer who is worthy of our respect. He has integrity and is responsible."

Rioting began 10 days ago when the soldiers alleged Mr Conte had gone back on his pledge to increase their wages after an army mutiny in 1996.

The army has supported Mr Conte's rule since he seized power in a bloodless coup in 1984 and keeping the military content is seen as key to his bid to stay in power.

Guinea was the scene of violent protests earlier this year as people called for the ailing president to step down.


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