Thursday, 15 February 2007

Guinea update from Ross Velton, Bissau

“I have got to know the guy in charge at the Guinean Embassy here in Bissau quite well over the past few days. I went to see him this morning for an update on the situation in Guinea-Conakry. His assertion that it was “very good” is obviously diplomatic rhetoric, and it must be said that his take on what is going on in his own country has often contradicted what I have heard from NGO workers in Guinea-Bissau and, indeed, the BBC World Service reports. This is not necessarily his fault, since I imagine that the government in Conakry has bigger priorities at the moment than keeping embassy officials updated. Today he was reporting that the Guinea-Bissau/Guinea-Conakry borders were open from midday to 6pm. However, travellers staying at my hotel were turned away from the border yesterday, so I am sceptical that the borders are open today. On my last visit to the Guinean Embassy, I was told that the borders would be closed until at least tomorrow. Even if you can enter Guinea-Conakry, the curfew (from 6pm to midday) - which the army are enforcing, sometimes quite violently - will restrict travel, and a general strike means that nothing is open.”
Ross Velton, by email, 15th February 2007

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