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Guinea opposition and government resume contact

Guinea opposition and government resume contact
Colonel Mamady Doumbouya leaves a meeting with high-level ECOWAS representatives ...   -  
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JOHN WESSELS/AFP or licensors


Guinea's opposition resumed contact with the military-dominated government on Monday after months of no dialogue raising fears of rising tensions, an AFP correspondent said.

The meeting does not seem to have dispelled the opposition's deep suspicion of the ruling junta, further heightened by the arrest of one of its members on Saturday.

Representatives of the Forces Vives, a coalition of the main parties, trade unions and non-governmental organisations, agreed to meet Prime Minister Bernard Goumou under the auspices of religious leaders.

One of the intercessors, Jean Boston Bangoura, of the Anglican Church, admitted to reporters that it was a "contact".

Guinea has been ruled since 2021 by a junta which took power in favor of one of the putsches that West Africa has experienced since August 2020. The soldiers agreed under international pressure to give way to civilians elected by the end of 2024, the time to carry out deep reforms, they say.

The opposition has faced the arrest of a number of its leaders under the junta and the launching of legal proceedings against others. The junta has banned all demonstrations and has just threatened to ban parties.

The opposition refuses to dialogue under the conditions set by the junta, which it accuses of confiscating power.

However, she agreed, after the intervention of the religious authorities, to postpone until next Wednesday a demonstration initially planned for last week. In a country accustomed to political violence, a previous day of mobilization in mid-February had led to clashes which left three dead.

The opposition did not communicate after Monday's meeting on the maintenance or postponement of Wednesday's mobilization.

Abdoulaye Barry, a union leader and member of the Forces Vives, however, told AFP that "if the junta took the approach of the clerics seriously, it would not arrest one of the major players in the Forces Vives".

Abdoul Sacko, a member of the Forces Vives, was arrested by the gendarmes on Saturday apparently outside of any procedure and, according to his lawyer, without motivation. He was released but summoned again on Monday. Reached by AFP, he reported that the gendarmes had questioned him about his involvement in the organization of prohibited demonstrations.

Released again, he must return to the gendarmes on Friday.

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