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Guinea-Prime Minister Web

Prime minister’s firing protested

Gunfire was heard behind the walls of the Republican Guard headquarters in the capital Monday a few hours after soldiers at another military base in Conakry fired shots in the air to protest the dismissal of Guinea’s prime minister last week.

Security forces blocked the road to the Republican Guard compound and it could not be learned if troops inside were part of a spreading protest in the military over President Lansana Conte’s removal of the prime minister.

Soldiers fear the departure of Prime Minister Lansana Kouyate means they will not receive roughly $1,000 in back pay that he allegedly promised them.

The army is seen as critical to Conte’s bid to remain president despite leading this West African nation to economic ruin since seizing power in a 1984 coup. Last year, mass protests by unions forced him to appoint a prime minister from a list approved by union leaders.

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The power-sharing agreement was meant to loosen the ailing Conte’s grip on power. He broke the deal earlier this year by firing the information minister without Kouyate’s consent and then ignored it again last week by dismissing Kouyate himself, a move the unions condemned.

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