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Guinea - 2010 Election

Guinea's first ever democratic election in 2010 went to a second round between Alpha Cond and former prime minister Celloun Dalein Diallo , which Cond narrowly won. Cond, who spent nearly three decades in exile in France, led the opposition to Guinea's dictatorial first president after independence from France, Ahmed Sekou Toure.

The Special Force for a Safe Electoral Process (FOSSEPEL), a 16,000-member unit composed of police and gendarmes, was created in May to ensure security during the elections and was under the Ministry of Security. The code of penal procedures permits the military, FOSSEPEL, the gendarmerie, and police forces to make arrests; however, only the gendarmerie can arrest members of the military and police forces. FOSSEPEL was effective in quelling violence during the first round of presidential elections in June, and there were no reports of excessive use of force; however, before and after the November 7 presidential runoff, there were reports of lack of discipline, excessive force, criminality, and ethnic partisanship by some FOSSEPEL members.

On June 27, UFDG candidate Cellou Diallo and RPG candidate Alpha Conde emerged as the front-runners in the first round of presidential elections, which international observers characterized as credible and free. FOSSEPEL defused a few clashes between supporters of different political parties quickly and with minimum force. Political party candidates could freely declare their candidacy and stand for elections, and there were no government restrictions focused on any one party. Each of the 24 candidates was allotted equal access to the media, and several observer groups stated that media coverage leading up to the first round of elections was neutral. The 24 candidates represented all of the country's major ethnic groups and many of its smaller ethnic groups as well.

The second round of presidential elections, originally scheduled for September 19, was repeatedly postponed until November 7, due to a dispute over alleged bias in CENI leadership, inadequate preparation for the elections, and the theft of laptops provided by the European Union to tabulate results from polling stations. International donors quickly replaced the laptops.

On November 7, the second round of presidential elections, originally scheduled for September 19 and postponed to October 10 and October 24, was held. On November 14, before election results were announced, Diallo declared that he would not accept the outcome of the vote. This was largely because the CENI refused to disqualify ballots from two contested prefectures where minority Peuhls were unable to vote due to ethnically motivated attacks against them in October; one Peuhl was killed, and Peuhl residents fled.

On November 15, CENI announced the provisional results of the election, which gave Alpha Conde the victory with 52.52 percent of the vote. International observers characterized the election as generally free and fair. Diallo subsequently challenged the results in the Supreme Court, and two days of violence between UFDG and RPG supporters ensued. On November 17, the transitional government declared a state of emergency and a dusk-to-dawn curfew; the curfew was withdrawn on December 3, when the Supreme Court validated the election results. Election-related violence, which occurred sporadically during the year, was largely drawn along ethnic lines between Diallo's Peuhl supporters and Conde's supporters--mostly Malinke, Soussou, and residents of the Forestier Region. Deaths and injuries resulted from the violence.

On June 25, in Coyah, fighting between UFDG and RPG resulted in two deaths. On September 11 and 12, in Conakry, two youths were killed during fighting between UFDG and RPG supporters. One youth was killed by a rock and the other by a bullet shot by an unidentified perpetrator.

Beginning in October some members of FOSSEPEL, which was dominated by ethnic groups that supported the RPG and Alpha Conde, were drawn into the violence. On October 18 and 19, gendarmerie and FOSSEPEL personnel used tear gas and batons to disperse thousands of predominantly UFDG youth who were protesting CENI leadership. The demonstrators, who numbered in the thousands, blocked traffic with burning tires and threw stones at passing vehicles. Numerous persons were injured, and approximately 100 of the 327 persons arrested during the two-day clash remained in prison without formal charge.

In late October violence again erupted between UFDG and RPG supporters. According to HRW, some FOSSEPEL members beat and assaulted party supporters, chased some into their homes and workplaces, and used the unrest as a pretext to loot shops and commit criminal acts, including theft of mobile phones, money, and other goods. Approximately 30 persons detained by security forces described being slapped, kicked, whipped, burned, and beaten with batons and rifle butts as they were being detained by security force members on the street, at their home or jobs, or in one of several gendarme and police facilities. HRW also documented the rape of six women by soldiers in the town of Labe; the transition government did not take action against these soldiers by year's end. Witnesses described how some FOSSEPEL officers targeted individuals for abuse and theft on the basis of their ethnicity, using racial threats and warning them not to vote for a particular party.

Guinea's security forces were slammed for excessive force as the post-election violence claimed two lives bringiung to four the number of deaths in two days. Dozens more were injured in an atmosphere fraught with tension over the election results announced 16 NOvember 2010. Conde won the run-off poll with 52.52 percent of the votes, but his rival Cellou Dalein Diallo who scored 47.48 percent maintains he is the rightful victor, claiming massive voting fraud.

On November 16 and 17, following the November 15 announcement of Conde's victory, violence again erupted between supporters of Diallo and Conde. Mobs of youths and men armed with rocks, sticks, iron bars, knives, machetes, and, in a few cases, small swords and hammers attacked supporters on both sides of the ethnic-political divide. However, in Conaky, HRW documented considerably more attacks by Peuhl youths on members of communities they believed supported Conde than the reverse. Conakry residents described being attacked in their homes, dragged out of their cars and beaten, singled out for abuse due to their ethnicity at informal checkpoints, and, in at least three cases, raped. Witnesses described how mobs vandalized and sometimes burned houses, cars, or furniture. Those who suffered the most serious violence were from ethnic groups that were a clear minority in a given neighborhood. Many families fled their homes.

While security forces sought to quell the violence in the cities of Conakry, Dalaba, and Labe, they failed to provide equal protection to all citizens, according to HRW. In some cases FOSSEPEL used lethal force to suppress violence by members of the Peuhl ethnic group. There were reports that security force members used ethnic slurs against members of the Peuhl ethnic group, collaborated with civilian mobs from ethnic groups that largely supported Conde, and in several cases looted and stole property from persons who were perceived to have supported Diallo.

In November, HRW took in-depth statements from 16 victims of gunshot wounds, 12 of whom described seeing security force members either shooting directly at them, or near them; the other four were injured by stray bullets fired by security forces. The local hospital where the vast majority of victims were taken informed HRW that it treated 84 individuals for gunshot wounds. Some of the injured admitted that they had engaged in violence and thrown rocks at the security forces, but the majority denied involvement in violence and said they had been shot in or near their homes by security forces members who stormed houses and compounds looking for youths who had fled after being dispersed by tear gas. Some of the youths also described being shot by security forces conducting foot or vehicular patrols after the violence had calmed down. Several men were shot, including two who died, during periods of relative calm when the men had ventured out to buy water or supplies or to visit family members.

There were also unconfirmed reports that military personnel attempted to impersonate FOSSEPEL officers and disrupt political rallies. There were also unconfirmed reports that ethnic partisans masqueraded as FOSSEPEL officers to inflict harm on members of opposing groups.

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