Guinea president replaces security minister following deadly protests
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CONAKRY - Guinea President Alpha Conde
announced on Monday that he was replacing his security minister
following deadly protests against suspected efforts by Conde to
extend his mandate.
Conde, 81, is due to step down next year when his second and
final five-year term expires, but he has refused to rule out
running again and asked his government in September to look into
drafting a new constitution.
Conde's opponents fear a new constitution could be used as a
reset button on his presidency, allowing Conde to run again like
other African leaders who have amended or changed constitutions
in recent years to stay in power.
Protests in Conakry, the capital, and the bauxite-mining
north against such a move have resulted in at least 13 deaths
over the past month.
The presidential statement read on national television on
Monday evening did not provide a reason for the sacking of
Security Minister Alpha Ibrahima Keira, but a senior government
official told Reuters it was related to Keira's "difficulty
managing the socio-political crisis."
Government spokesman Damantang Albert Camara will replace
Keira as security minister. Conde also announced that he was
replacing his health and justice ministers.
The government has said it would investigate the deaths
during the protests, which opposition leaders and residents said
were caused by security forces' opening fire on demonstrators.
Conde's first election victory in 2010 raised hopes for
democratic progress in Guinea after decades of authoritarian
rule. But his critics accuse him of cracking down on dissent and
violently repressing protests - charges he denies.
A dozen opposition and civil society leaders were sentenced
to prison last month for their role in organising the protests.