CONAKRY (AFP) – At least 95 people died and around 100 more were wounded in ethnic violence last week in Guinea, a government spokesman said Wednesday, revising higher a previous toll of 58.
"At the last count, there were at least 95 dead and around 100 wounded" in three days of clashes that broke out suddenly on July 15, Albert Damantang Camara told reporters.
The violence began when Guerze tribesmen, who form the majority population in the southern forest region where the unrest took place, beat up three ethnic Konianke in the town of Koule.
Two of the victims later died of their wounds, leading to reprisals, according to the police.
Fighting then spread to the provincial capital N'Zerekore, 570 kilometres (350 miles) southeast of Conakry, leaving several homes, churches and mosques damaged or destroyed.
By Wednesday, clashes had also reached the town of Beyla, with rival sides using machetes, sticks, axes, stones and firearms.
"There were 131 arrests" made during the unrest, said Camara, who added that "calm has returned and normal activities have resumed" for the past few days.
Communal violence is common in the region, near the border with Liberia, where clashes between the two tribes regularly break out over religious and other grievances.
The indigenous Guerze are mostly Christian or animist, while the Konianke -- seen as newcomers -- are Muslims.