CONAKRY, July 17 (Reuters) - Guinean security forces have uncovered a suspected armed plot to destabilise the West African country as it approaches the decisive round of a presidential election, its prime minister said on Saturday.
The world’s biggest bauxite exporter is in the process of replacing a military-led government with what would be its first freely elected administration. The first round of voting last month produced no clear winner, and a second round is expected within weeks.
“Certain elements ... are meeting illicitly to arrange and to profit from public demonstrations by provoking disorder,” Prime Minister Jean-Marie Dore said on national television.
Those involved dressed in military or police uniform to attempt to deflect suspicion onto the authorities, he said.
“I say to the militants ... that they have already been identified. We know who they are,” Dore said.
Army chief Colonel Nouhou Thiam said arrests had been made.
The first round of voting passed peacefully, despite expectations that the army, or supporters of political parties, would cause trouble.
A military junta took power in Guinea in December 2008 after President Lansana Conte died, but in early 2010 the head of the armed forces appointed a transitional government to organise elections, a process backed by the United States, France, the United Nations and European Union among others.
International observers said they were generally satisfied with the conduct of the vote, but second-placed candidate Alpha Conde and third-placed Sidya Toure have challenged the count. The country’s highest court is due to pronounce on those appeals on Monday.
Former Prime Minister Cellou Dalein Diallo won the largest share of the vote but failed to take more than 50 percent, leaving him to contest the second round against Conde. (Reporting by Saliou Samb; Writing by Daniel Magnowski; Editing by Jon Hemming)