At least 10 dead during Guinea’s controversial referendum

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THE official count of votes is underway in Guinea after at least 10 people were killed in the violence as debris burns on the streets of Conakry, in the aftermath of clashes between police and protesters during a bitterly-disputed referendum on Sunday.

Anti-government forces came under fire by security forces who carried out massive arrests, fired blindly, and cruelly molested the people.

The FNDC, the umbrella group of opposition parties and civil society organisations, called for fresh protests Monday and Tuesday.

The authorities could not immediately be reached to confirm the casualty toll.

Alpha Conde, who became the West African country’s first democratically elected president in 2010, is proposing a change to the constitution to codify gender equality and introduce other social reforms.

But his opponents fear the real motive is to reset presidential term limits, allowing Conde, 82, to run for a third spell in office later this year a scenario that his government has not discounted.

Early on Sunday young people attacked police deployed outside a polling station in a suburb of the capital Conakry, according to an AFP reporter and other witnesses. In another school nearby, voting equipment was vandalised.

A 28-year-old man was shot dead and several others wounded in another Conakry suburb, Hamdallaye, the victim’s brother confirmed to AFP. Officials did not respond to confirm the death.

Clashes also broke out in other Conakry suburbs and elsewhere in the country, a former French colony.

Since October, Guineans have protested en masse against the possibility of Conde extending his grip on power.

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