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Guinea government officials to meet with candidates after violence

By the CNN Wire Staff
A file picture shows a guard securing ballots during Guinea's first round presidential election on June 29, 2010.
A file picture shows a guard securing ballots during Guinea's first round presidential election on June 29, 2010.
STORY HIGHLIGHTS
  • The meeting comes after weekend violence flared between supporters of rival candidates
  • Presidential elections in Guinea are scheduled for September 19
  • One person was reportedly killed, dozens were injured
RELATED TOPICS
  • Guinea
  • Conakry
  • West Africa

Conakry, Guinea (CNN) -- A special council of ministers in Guinea will meet with two presidential candidates Monday, a day after the government suspended all campaign activity for the country's first presidential election.

The temporary suspension, announced Sunday, came after weekend violence reportedly left one person dead and dozens injured. Elections in the West African nation are scheduled for September 19.

"All campaign activity will be from here on temporarily suspended," government spokesman Aboucar Sylla said in a televised statement. "It will recommence by official notification."

Sylla said a special council of ministers will meet Monday with presidential candidates Cellou Dalein Diallo and Alpha Conde.

The suspension decision was taken after an emergency meeting of top government officials to address violence over the weekend in nation's capital, Conakry, according to Guinea news website guineenews.org.

One person was killed and 50 were injured in fighting between supporters of rival candidates on Saturday and Sunday morning, the site reported, citing Sylla.

Neither party was available for comment Sunday night regarding recent events.

In a press release on Saturday, Conde's RPG party denounced what it saw as aggression from Diallo's party, UFDG.

"A number of activists for the Rainbow Alliance [RPG] were attacked by people wearing UFDG T-shirts during a football tournament organized in name of Professor Alpha Conde," the press release said.

Diallo's UFDG party released a statement on its website Sunday afternoon countering Conde's version of events: "In the midst of their joy and expecting nothing, [UFDG supporters] were once again attacked by RPG militants," the website said.

The country's supreme court found several minor voting irregularities in the first round, but upheld the overall results. The electoral commission was hit by crisis again on Thursday, after Guinean courts sentenced the commission's president and his deputy to one year in prison for fraud committed during the first round.

Guinea has been ruled by a military junta since a group of soldiers took power after the death of longtime autocrat Lansana Conte in late 2008.

The junta promised elections and named Captain Moussa Dadis Camara president of the transition, but later threatened to hold on to power.

Last year, the opposition organized a protest against Camara in a stadium in the capital Conakry, but the military attacked the demonstrators. About 150 people were killed, more than 100 raped and at least 1,000 injured, according to the U.S. government and international human rights groups.

In the ensuing uncertainty, Camara's deputy shot him and Camara was forced to seek medical treatment in Morocco. He remains in convalescence in Burkina Faso.

The current president is former army chief Sekouba Konate.

Journalist Joseph Penney contributed to this report.