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(Updates with arrests in second paragraph, African Union statement in fifth.)
July 19 (Bloomberg) -- Guinean President Alpha Conde survived unharmed an attack by gunmen on his residence in the capital, Conakry, today and praised his guards for repelling the assault.
Conde called for calm and national unity in a statement made on the state broadcaster Radio Television Guineenne. Prime Minister Mohamed Said Fofana told a meeting of government institutions that “many were arrested” in connection with the attacks. He didn’t provide details.
The gunfight left at least one of the presidential guard dead, injured others and destroyed part of the house, Associated Press reported, citing Francois Fall, a minister at the presidency. The attack started at about 2 a.m. local time and continued until first light, local residents told AP. Those arrested included General Nouhou Thiam, former chief of staff of the army, Guineenews.org reported, without saying where it got the information.
Conde was elected president of the world’s largest exporter of bauxite, the raw material for alumina, in November after two years of military rule. On May 24, Human Rights Watch called on him to investigate crimes committed by security forces in 2007 and 2009 and to strengthen the country’s judicial system. Two months earlier, the United Nations human rights commissioner proposed a truth and reconciliation commission to probe abuses.
African Union Commission Chairman Jean Ping “condemned strongly” the attack, which comes as Guinea prepares for a parliamentary election later this year. The government, political parties and civil society groups should “engage without delay in reasoned policy dialogue” the Addis Ababa- based African Union said in an e-mailed statement.
Guinea should hold parliamentary elections by November, according to proposals by the Electoral Commission on June 11.
--Editors: Philip Sanders, Karl Maier, Emily Bowers, Alastair Reed
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