Clashes in Freetown over Guinea elections

Guinea’s ambassador in Sierra Leone on Thursday denied allegations of plotting to rig the high-stakes elections scheduled for the weekend.
“Clashes at the Guinea embassy on Tuesday and Wednesday saw several youths of Guinean nationality detained by the Sierra Leone police.
“The youths, believed to be supporters of Guinea’s main opposition leader Cellou Dalein Diallo, claimed that the embassy had hidden ballot materials that should have been distributed.
“Guinea is one of the few countries in Africa that conduct diaspora voting.
“And given its proximity to Sierra Leone, there is a substantial population of Guineans in the country. The majority of them are from the Fula ethnic group, like Mr Diallo.
The youths are mostly engaged in the okada (motor-bike tax) business.
“Foday Kamara, the Guinea ambassador, accused “people with bad intentions” of manipulating the youths against him.
“Bad intentions
“The sealed ballot materials were delivered Thursday morning by the courier service DHL, in the presence of representatives from the National Electoral Commission of Sierra Leone, the police, and officials from the Guinean electoral body attached to the embassy.
“According to the embassy, the electoral materials were supposed to have been delivered Tuesday, but there was a delay because of the rioting which left the main gate of the embassy compound destroyed.
“”I want Guineans to know that they have been manipulated by people with bad intentions who want to destroy the good relations between our two governments,” Mr Kamara said.
“The elections are due on Sunday.
“Six other candidates are challenging incumbent President Alpha Conde who came to power in 2010 in the first ever democratic election since independence.
“Meanwhile, President Conde on Thursday defied calls from his rivals to delay the vote over alleged irregularities.
“He said since the electoral body was set to conduct the polls, there was no point in postponing them.
“There were reports on Thursday of clashes in Conakry between supporters of the two main rivals – Conde and Diallo.