Conakry, Guinea | AFP | Police have arrested at least 50 people following an arson attack that killed five children in central Guinea after last weekend’s local elections, local official said Thursday.
Unrest has flared in the West African country after the ballot, with seven deaths recorded so far across the country amid violent clashes between opposition supporters and riot police.
“After the violence in Kalinko, security forces made arrests of at least 50 people who were all transferred to Faranah prison,” Mamadou Lamarana Diallo, a local official, told Guinean radio.
Diallo said some of those arrested were carrying weapons, and that the wave of violence in the town had spread to nearby villages.
Mohamed Ibn Chambas, special representative for the United Nations Secretary-General in the area, said he regretted “deeply” the loss of life and appealed for calm.
At the end of a two-day visit, Chambas on Thursday called on the various factions to “avoid any act of violence” to allow the electoral commission to continue its work, according to a statement from the Guinean government.
Calling for “respect for the law”, justice minister Cheick Sako said there must be “absolutely a climate of peace, tolerance and serenity in this post-election period for the happiness of the people”.
Sunday’s vote was the first of its kind since the end of the era of military dictatorship, and followed eight years of delays blamed on a lack of funds, political infighting and the 2013-16 Ebola crisis.
Opposition leaders have denounced the long-delayed local elections, saying vote rigging with proxy ballots occurred at several polling stations in favour of the party of President Alpha Conde.
Results are expected by Friday.