Two Dead In Fresh Unrest In Guinea

Two people were killed in Guinea Thursday during clashes with security officers in the anti-government stronghold of Labe, according to the city’s mayor.

Hundreds of thousands of people have protested in the West African state since mid-October over concerns that President Alpha Conde intends to use a planned constitutional reform to extend his mandate.

At least 23 civilians and one gendarme have been killed in the protests to date, according to reports.

On Thursday, the alliance of opposition groups behind the protests did not call a rally.

But tensions have remained high in the central city of Labe, its mayor Mamadou Aliou Laly Diallo said, and they spilled over into clashes.

“The town has been in turmoil since this morning, the people revolted,” Diallo told reporters.

Two people were shot dead, he said, adding that he thought about ten more were wounded in shooting from security officers.

Gendarme in Labe were not available for comment.

Conde, 81, published a draft constitution last month, arguing that the colonial-era laws needed to be changed.

But his adversaries are convinced he plans to use the reform to stay in office beyond the two presidential terms currently stipulated in the former French colony’s constitution.

The president has neither confirmed nor denied that claim.

Tensions have increased recently as the National Front for the Defence of the Constitution (FNDC), an alliance of opposition groups behind the protests, called for open-ended demonstrations.

Opposition parties have also promised to prevent legislative elections in February from taking place.

Conde is a former opposition figure who was jailed under Guinea’s previous authoritarian regimes.

He became the first democratically elected president in 2010.

Despite initial hopes of a new political dawn, critics say Conde’s rule has become increasingly authoritarian.

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