Guinea president sacks minister, officials over violence

329px-Alpha_Conde_-_World_Economic_Forum_Annual_Meeting_2012Guinean President Alpha Conde on Thursday sacked his interior minister and two other government officials for “gross misconduct,” for their handling of deadly violence that broke out at a religious gathering last weekend.

Interior Minister Mahmoud Cisse, Secretary of State for Religious Affairs El Hajd Abdoulaye Diassy and his deputy Aboubacar Fofana were dismissed, according to orders from Conakry, which gave no further explanation and did not name any replacements.

A source in the presidency told AFP that “President Conde blames his now former colleagues for the catastrophic event management at Touba”, a popular Muslim pilgrimage site where violence broke out last week.

Two people were killed, many wounded and vehicles and buildings torched when rival groups clashed over the construction of a large mosque in the city, which lies some 250 kilometres (155 miles) north of Conakry in the Gaoual prefecture.

“Authorities deployed security forces to maintain order in the region after the destruction,” and an investigation has been opened, Court of Appeals prosecutor Cherif Moundjour told state media on Wednesday.

“At this time, 13 people have been arrested” and are being held in Gaoual, he said.

“They are being prosecuted for murder, criminal conspiracy, destruction of private property and intentional injury.”

The violence comes after Conde was reelected for a second five-year term last month and is due to be sworn in on December 14.

Some 85 percent of Guinea’s 12 million people are Muslim, about one in 10 are Christians and others follow traditional spiritual beliefs.

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