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Guinean hospitals report spike in casualties

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[November 18, 2010]  CONAKRY, Guinea (AP) -- Records kept by one of the main municipal hospitals in Guinea indicate that at least seven people were killed and 199 injured in three days following a tense presidential election whose results are in dispute.

The records from Donka National Hospital are only a glimpse of the total figure, because there are several other clinics and state-run hospitals where victims may have been taken. The total also does not account for those injured in violence in the interior of the country.

A majority of the victims are believed to be Peul, the ethnicity of losing presidential candidate Cellou Dalein Diallo. His supporters rioted in the hours after the results from the Nov. 7 election were announced late Monday. They were quickly put down by the mostly Malinke security forces, who belong to the ethnicity of the race's declared winner, Alpha Conde

Peul neighborhoods looked like ghost towns for the three days after the announcement of results, with roads strewn with bullet casings and broken glass. Down alleyways, Peul families cowered inside locked homes. Gunshots could be heard at regular intervals and volleys of fire were heard at night.

Guinea's election is considered to be the nation's first democratic vote following 52 years of dictatorship but has been clouded by ethnic tensions that arose once the race was narrowed to two candidates from the country's two largest ethnic groups.

On Wednesday, the government declared a state of emergency, restricting civilian gathering. The military established checkpoints at strategic roundabouts and searched cars overnight.

The measure appears to have restored a sense of order and by Thursday, traffic had resumed in several of the most affected neighborhoods and a few shops reopened. The state of emergency is in effect until the Supreme Court validates the final results.

[Associated Press; By RUKMINI CALLIMACHI]

Copyright 2010 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

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