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Violence mars Guinea election campaign

By the CNN Wire Staff
A file picture shows a guard securing ballots during Guinea's first round presidential election on June 29.
A file picture shows a guard securing ballots during Guinea's first round presidential election on June 29.
  • Presidential elections in Guinea are scheduled for September 19
  • Weekend violence flared between supporters of rival candidates
  • One person was reportedly killed, dozens were injured
  • The government has suspended campaigning until ministers meet with candidates
  • Guinea
  • Conakry
  • West Africa

Conakry, Guinea (CNN) -- Guinea has temporarily suspended campaigning for its first-ever democratic presidential election after weekend violence reportedly left one person dead and dozens injured.

Government spokesman Aboucar Sylla announced Sunday in a televised statement at that all campaign activity for the September 19 elections in the West African nation will be suspended until a special council of ministers meets with the two candidates, Cellou Dalein Diallo and Alpha Conde, on Monday.

"All campaign activity will be from here on temporarily suspended," Sylla said. "It will recommence by official notification."

The suspension decision was taken after an emergency meeting of top government officials to address violence over the weekend in nation's capital, Conakry, according to Guineenews' web site.

One person was killed and dozens injured in fighting between supporters of rival candidates on Saturday and Sunday morning, according to a Reuters report.

Neither party was available for comment Sunday night regarding recent events.

In a press release on Saturday, Conde's RPG party denounced what it saw as aggression from Diallo's party.

"A number of activists for the Rainbow Alliance [RPG] were attacked by people wearing UFDG T-shirts during a football tournament organized in name of Professor Alpha Conde," the press release said.

Diallo's UFDG party released a statement on its web site Sunday afternoon countering Conde's version of events: "In the midst of their joy and expecting nothing, [UFDG supporters] were once again attacked by RPG militants," the web site said.

The country's supreme court found several minor voting irregularities in the first round, but upheld the overall results. The electoral commission was hit by crisis again on Thursday, after Guinean courts sentenced the commission's president and his deputy to one year in prison for fraud committed during the first round.

Guinea has been ruled by a military junta since a group of soldiers took power after the death of longtime autocrat Lansana Conte in late 2008.

The junta promised elections and named Captain Moussa Dadis Camara president of the transition, but later threatened to hold on to power.

Last year the opposition organized a protest against Camara in a stadium in the capital Conakry, but the military attacked the demonstrators. About 150 people were killed, more than 100 raped and at least 1,000 injured, according to the U.S. government and international human rights groups.

In the ensuing uncertainty, Camara's deputy shot him and Camara was forced to seek medical treatment in Morocco. He remains in convalescence in Burkina Faso.

The current president is former army chief Sekouba Konate.

Journalist Joseph Penney in Conakry, Guinea, contributed to this report.