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Post-attack, Guinea tells investors country is under control

Source: Thomson Reuters Foundation - Wed, 20 Jul 2011 12:33 GMT
Author: Reuters
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* Conde speaks to foreign envoys after attack

* President says situation will be swiftly handled

CONAKRY, July 20 (Reuters) - Guinean President Alpha Conde sought to reassure investors his West African country was under control after a double assassination bid against him.

Conde narrowly escaped two armed attacks on his residence in the capital Conakry on Tuesday which killed three people. A former army chief sacked by Conde in December was arrested hours later along with at least one former presidential guard member.

The assaults raised concerns about a country that is seeking to cast off an image of having an unstable leadership that is prone to coups and make the most of its place as the world's top exporter of aluminium ore bauxite.

Guinea has become a target for foreign investment in its iron reserves.

"(Investors) need security and justice," Conde told foreign envoys in Conakry in comments on state television late on Tuesday.

"I think that what happened had a number of aims, notably to create the perception that Guinea is unstable. But we are certain that this is an incident that will be rapidly brought under control."

Conde won a disputed November 2010 election that restored civilian rule after nearly two years of being governed by a junta following the 2008 death of longtime ruler Lansana Conte.

Guinea relies on minerals for over 70 percent of its exports and is reviewing its mining code to give the state a bigger share in projects -- part of a global trend for resource-rich nations to capitalise on rising commodities prices.

An aide close to Conde said Tuesday's violence could cause some investors to get cold feet.

"It is clear that investors will be watching closely what is going on," said the aide, who declined to be identified. "In the short term, they are going to wait a bit before taking any decisions."

Nouhou Thiam, an army general who was sacked by Conde in one of his first moves to reform an army notorious for its lack of discipline, was among those arrested, a senior police source said on Tuesday, giving no further details.

A second soldier who was an ex-member of the presidential guard was also being held, police and army sources said. (Reporting by Saliou Samb; Writing by Mark John; Editing by David Lewis)

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