21 dead in Guinea unrest as envoys try to mediate
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A total of 21 people have been killed in unrest in Guinea following a disputed presidential election last week, state television reported on Monday, as international envoys attempted to soothe tensions in the West African nation.
The RTG state news channel said that 21 people had been killed since October 19, including officers of the security forces -- six fewer than figures compiled by the opposition which claims 27 have died.
President Alpha Conde, 82, won a hotly contested October 18 election according to official results announced Saturday, setting the stage for a controversial third term.
But his main opponent Cellou Dalein Diallo, 68, disputes the results. He claimed victory last week, citing data his activists gathered at individual polling stations.
Diallo's self-proclaimed victory led to a week of clashes between supporters and security forces across the nation.
The government had previous put the number of dead at 10.
The envoys -- who include ECOWAS Commission President Jean-Claude Kassi Brou and the UN special representative to West Africa, Mohamed Ibn Chambas -- met several ministers and government officials on Monday.
An ECOWAS official in Conakry said they also spoke with representatives of Guinea's electoral commission and foreign diplomats.
Diallo told AFP that the envoys met him too, at his Conakry home which police have blockaded for days.
Anti-Conde protests were due to resume in the city early Monday and many shops stayed shut, but few people ended up hitting the streets in the end.
"In my neighbourhood, people say they are waiting to see the outcome of the joint mission," said a suburban resident who declined to be named.
Scars from the unrest were apparent in the Conakry neighbourhood of Wanindara -- an opposition stronghold -- with burned-out vehicles lying on the roadside.
Mohamed Saliou Camara, whose house was torched, said Conde and Diallo supporters had clashed in the area.
Much of the turbulence centres on a third term for Alpha Conde, whom opponents accuse of drifting into authoritarianism.
He pushed through a new constitution in March which he argued would modernise the country. But it also allowed him to bypass a two-term limit for presidents.