Clash in Guinea over opening of new mosque injures 59 people
CONAKRY: At least 59 people were injured in Guinea when youths frustrated they were being kept out of the opening of a new mosque in the town of Timbo clashed with police, a hospital director and witnesses said on Saturday.
Security officials stopped ordinary people from entering the mosque to allow local dignitaries to pass but youths became angry and threw stones and attempted to rush in, witnesses said. Police responded with teargas and beat back the youths.
"There was a huge clash between the police and the young people and clouds of tear gas. I saw old women pushed over by the surging crowd. It was serious," said Latif Haidera, a witness.
Mamadou Kouyate, the director of the regional hospital at Mamou, said 59 people were treated at his hospital alone following the incident on Friday in Timbo, which is about 260 km (163 miles) northeast of the capital Conakry.
About 85 percent of Guinea's population follows Sunni Islam and Timbo is a centre of Islamic learning and the capital of the Foutah branch of Islam in Guinea.
The town is also a stronghold of the political opposition to President Alpha Conde, though witnesses said the clash was not directly connected to national politics. (Reporting by Saliou Samb; Writing by Matthew Mpoke Bigg; Editing by Angus MacSwan)