February 12 2007
SOS Children's Villages in Guinea on alert
12/02/2007 - Guinea has again come to a standstill following strikes and violent demonstrations against President Conte. The second wave of protests within a month has forced SOS Children's Villages to close its schools for safety reasons until further notice and staff members have been asked to stay at home.
Guinea has been faced with a potential civil war since 9 February. After the situation had calmed down somewhat in January and President Conte had made a concession to unions and other opposition forces, his unilateral appointment of a prime minister has led to more demonstrations and riots.
SOS Children's Villages' facilities in the capital Conakry, in N'Zerekore and in Kankan have been on alert since last Friday. All the children and mothers are in good health and are safe. Those who work at the office of SOS Children's Villages Guinea in Conakry were asked to stay at home.
SOS co-worker David Asfaw reported that since Friday evening many public buildings, police stations, petrol stations and ministers' homes have been plundered and destroyed. Some have died, particularly civilians. Armed groups were also present at the demonstrations. They plundered shops and homes, particularly in Enta in the centre of Conakry, where the SOS Children's Village is located. Large demonstrations were planned across the country today. All private and public workers, officials and students were intending to march to the presidential palace in the centre of Conakry to call for a change in the country's politics.
Yesterday the government cancelled all international flights and the airport was closed. Radio stations also had to shut down.