The Guinean army has made two raids into northern Sierra Leone, killing at least 50 people, in a bid to punish rebels blamed here for a wave of deadly cross-border attacks, military sources said Friday.
The raids were carried out on Saturday and Monday, in Yana, in the Kamakwie region of Guinea's wartorn neighbor, the source, who did not wish to be identified said.
At least 30 rebels were killed in the first raid and 20 in the second, he said, without saying whether any Guinean soldiers had been killed. The raids were carried out on the basis of information obtained by Conakry on rebel movements across the border.
The source said the raids were "a new strategy designed to push rebels back from the border with Guinea."
Since early September, deadly clashes between Guinea's armed forces and unidentified bands of armed rebels have ensued in southern Guinea, along the nation's border with Liberia and Sierra Leone.
Conakry has accused the Sierra Leone rebel Revolutionary United Front (RUF), supported by Liberia, of leading the attacks, which have killed hundreds and displaced tens of thousands.
National radio confirmed the attacks by the army late Thursday, without giving further details.
State television on Thursday showed pictures of a haggard prisoner, said to be a rebel commander captured in Koyama in southeastern Guinea.
Emaciated, wearing a blue T-shirt, the man, who spoke in English, said he had followed a 10-month training course in Libya, along with 300 others. He said he and around 15 others went to Ivory Coast in August, where they were given arms, before going to Liberia.
Late Thursday the UN Security Council in New York condemned the recent attacks against Guinea and criticized Liberia for its aid to rebels there.
The council expressed "its serious concern ... over reports that external military support is being provided to these rebel groups," and asked all nations, including Liberia, "to refrain from providing any such military support" -- CONAKRY (AFP)
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