State of siege declared in Guinea but insurrection continues
Reprinted in its entireity with permission from Friends of Guinea's blog
Guinea's embattled head of state Gen. Lansana Conté has declared the country to be in a state of siege for the next two weeks and ordered the army to restore order by any means necessary, according to Guinéenews. The military has been given all the powers of the police. The decree ordered that all electronic communications were being monitored by authorities. All vehicle traffic has been banned with foot traffic only allowed between 4:00-6:00 PM.
The brand new Radio Liberté FM, one of the first private broadcasters in the country, has reportedly seen its offices ransacked by the presidential guard. The two employees, who were running a call-in program where opinions were running against the Guinean leader, were taken away by the red berets.
Two other private radio stations have suspended all programming as ordered by the presidential guard.
Armored tanks have been seen on the streets of the capital.
At least seven people have been killed in the Conakry commune of Ratoma.
A BBC reporter notes that protesters have ransacked a police station in the southern town of Guekedou and demonstrators are also out on the streets of other towns. The labor union collective insists that it is no longer about who happens to be prime minister. They claim their sole objective now is Conté's departure.
One of the more intriguing stories comes from COSA and ENCO 5, in the Conakry suburbs. Mobs there have attacked suspected members of the former Liberian rebel movement ULIMO. Lansana Conté had backed that faction during that country's 1989-97 civil war and some accuse the general of calling in the militiamen to help put down the general strike. Yet members of the Guinean army have sided with the residents, who provided the soldiers with food and drink. Apparently young soldiers at the Alpha Yaya military camp were angry that only a handful of their colleagues were rewarded during the latest round of promotions. Internal divisions inside the Guinean military are one of the reasons many observers fear a messy transition to the post-Conté era. This analysis from AllAfrica.com has other interesting speculation as well.