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Medicines and aid blocked by Guinea fighting

Police and paramilitary roadblocks were set up on Sunday and people were barred from moving around the city while the authorities appealed for calm. But the attacks have carried on. A health worker told Agence France Presse that he had seen a woman with her throat slit and a burned corpse, since Monday. Now medical supplies and health workers heading for the city, in Guinea’s Forest region are being blocked while leaving the south east African country’s second city, Conakry, the United Nations said.

A truck carrying medical supplies for N’zérékoré is stranded in Guéckédou about 240km away, because no UN vehicles are moving in and out of N’zérékoré, said the World Health Organisation’s René Coddy. It left the Conakry on Saturday with medicines and other supplies for N’zérékoré hospital. “We are trying to get a security escort so the car can continue on to N’zérékoré,” Coddy told the United Nations news service, IRIN. Today a routine aid flight to N’zérékoré is being re-attempted after it was cancelled on Monday. A UN team are now heading for the area to evaluate the security risk, although staff working there have been told to stay inside their homes. The recent clashes take on an ethnic dimension with the people of the Malinké and Konianké ethnic groups mostly Muslim, and the Geurzé predominantly Christian. Police sources said they were provoked by a row between a Christian woman and a group of Muslim men who blocked access to a road near a mosque during prayers. About 85 per cent of the population of Guinea is Muslim with Christians making up around eight per cent of the population.

Guinea is the world's top exporter of bauxite, the ore used to make aluminium. Yet despite its mineral wealth, the country is one of the poorest in the world and around a quarter of people are undernourished.  The country is host to more than 29,000 refugees and asylum seekers from neighbouring countries - predominantly Ivory Coast, Liberia and Sierra Leone, according to the UN refugee agency. The nation came close to the bottom of a 2008 corruption survey by watchdog Transparency International - ranking 173rd out of 180 countries. Somalia was the only African country to score worse.

By Hayley Jarvis for SOS Children