November 28, 2010 / 8:12 AM / in 8 years

Guinea closes borders ahead of vote ruling

Members of the Guinean military ride on a pick-up truck as they patrol the streets of a suburb near the capital Conakry November 18, 2010. Alpha Conde, winner of Guinea's presidential election according to preliminary results, has played down ethnic tensions and appealed to rivals to abandon protests and help him rebuild the nation. REUTERS/Joe Penney

CONAKRY (Reuters) - Guinea’s ruling junta announced on Saturday that it had closed the West African country’s borders — a move that a military source said was linked to an imminent ruling on challenges to the outcome of this month’s presidential poll.

“The government has decided to close land, sea, air and river borders,” said an announcement read out on state television that gave no further details.

A military source said the step had been taken because the Supreme Court would soon rule on challenges to preliminary results that put opposition leader Alpha Conde ahead of ex-premier Cellou Dalein Diallo in the November 7 election, which is aimed at restoring civilian rule in the top bauxite exporter.

The Supreme Court has until December 2 to rule on complaints of irregularities in several constituencies, which Diallo believes would reverse Conde’s preliminary victory, in which he won 52.5 percent and Diallo 47 percent.

The government has already declared a state of emergency and imposed an overnight curfew after the announcement of the results triggered three days of violence in which at least 10 people were killed, according to one rights group.

Diallo’s supporters are mostly from the Peul ethnic group, which comprises around 40 percent of the population. Conde is from the slightly smaller Malinke group, and managed to win more votes from other ethnic minorities.

Separately, the army announced that deputy chief of staff Aboubacar Sidiki Camara had been sacked. It gave no reason, but the same military source said the move appeared to be linked to internal rivalries within the fractious armed forces.

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