Conakry (AFP) – A Guinean government minister said on Wednesday the country was "in danger" from outsiders plotting against it amid media reports that a coup was being planned in the capital Conakry.
Security Minister Madifing Diane made the comments in response to a story in the latest edition of Paris-based weekly Le Canard Enchaine which said it had seen French and American secret service documents "announcing a coup in Conakry".
"Guinea is in danger and the strings are being pulled from outside," the minister told a meeting in Conakry of the International Organisation of the Francophonie, refusing to comment on the specific details of the story.
The report has caused alarm in the former French colony as it prepares for its first parliamentary elections in more than a decade, with polls opening on Saturday.
Le Canard said the coup plot had been put together by "French, South African and Israeli mercenaries with links to Paris and Africa and backed by a diamond magnate".
"The unrest could be triggered as early as next week," the newspaper said.
"These are better organised services than mine, the CIA and the French secret services that are alluding to that," Diane said in response to questions on the plot from the media.
He added however that Saturday's elections would likely take place in a "highly agitated" atmosphere.
The election campaign has been marred by days of clashes in Conakry between pro- and anti-government supporters in which a trainee police officer was shot dead and more than 70 people wounded.
Diane blamed members of the main opposition coalition formed around the Union of Democratic Forces of Guinea (UDFG), led by former prime minister Cellou Dalein Diallo, accusing "UDFG politicians abroad (of) guiding and manipulating" members of the opposition.
He stopped short of pointing the finger at Diallo himself, however.
"The president of the UDFG and his allies have called for restraint, saying that those who are on the street are not members of their parties, they are thugs who harm their people," he said.