Guinea

At least 20 hurt in Guinea pre-election violence

24 Jun 2010 16:11:29 GMT

CONAKRY, June 24 (Reuters) - At least 20 people were injured when supporters of two political parties hurled stones at each other in the village of Coyah in Guinea three days before an election, witnesses and a national guard source said on Thursday.

The West African state's presidential vote on June 27 is seen as its best chance to break from a troubled past of harsh authoritarian rule and, if it passes smoothly, could bolster democracy in a region notorious for coups and flawed polls.

"It is hot in Coyah. There are lots of wounded," said the national guard source by telephone on condition of anonymity. He said most of the wounded were injured by thrown rocks.

A resident in the village 50 km (30 miles) from the capital Conakry told Reuters he counted 20 wounded and said dozens of vehicles were damaged or destroyed.

The fighting erupted between supporters of opposition parties Union of Democratic Forces (UFDG) and Union of Republican Forces (UFR), according to the sources.

Investors in Guinea, the world's top supplier of the aluminum ore bauxite and a major venue for iron ore explorers, crave stability after the 2008 death of strongman ruler Lansana Conte ushered in a junta and unrest many feared could spark civil war

(Reporting by Saliou Samb; editing by Richard Valdmanis and Noah Barkin)

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