Guinea refused entry to a delegation of mediators from West African regional body Ecowas on Friday, saying it had resolved the dispute which sparked a general strike last month. An Ecowas delegation had been scheduled to travel to the Guinean capital Conakry on Friday to encourage dialogue after an 18-day strike in which more than 90 people were killed.
Unions in Guinea said they were ready to resume negotiations on Wednesday to end a crippling general strike after days of violent clashes around the West African country in which at least 40 people have been killed. Union chiefs say President Lansana Conte, a reclusive, chain-smoking diabetic in his 70s, is unfit to rule and are demanding he step aside.
More than 20 people were killed in Guinea on Monday in clashes between protesters and security forces who opened fire on the most violent day of a two-week general strike against President Lansana Conte. Authorities arrested union leaders in a bid to break the crippling strike that unions had called against the ageing Conte, saying he was unfit to rule.
The Niger river snakes through nine countries in West Africa before emptying into the Atlantic Ocean. It is an epic 4 200km in length, provides sustenance to millions of people -- and has trouble brewing at its source. In the Faranah region of central Guinea where the river begins, small islands of sand have formed in the bed of the Niger, prompting a decline in fishing and harvests.
At a crossroads in the Avenue of the Republic in Guinea's capital, Conakry, a group of traffic police lounge by their motorbikes while one of them waves down a rusting taxi and plucks a few crumpled, dirty notes from the hand of its driver. And so it continues all day, with no concern for passers-by on the pot-holed pavements cluttered with hawkers.
Peace returns but Guinea villagers have to wait longer for international aid. According to the finance ministry, millions of dollars' worth of damage was inflicted in the course of fighting five years ago. The violence was prompted, in part, by a long-running dispute between Liberia and Guinea, which had allowed Liberian rebels to set up camp in its territory.
The debate on how best to provide anti-retroviral medication to HIV-positive citizens has taxed the ingenuity of many an African government -- not least that of Guinea. However, the administration of this country now appears to be making citizens the victim of its own good intentions.