Sex scandal has electoral impact

December 11, 1998

Conakry

Claims that academics have sexually harassed students at Guinea's Universite Nationale have become a prominent issue in the run-up to the country's presidential elections next Monday.

Thirty thousand students at the university have begun an indefinite strike over allegations levelled at some professors and lecturers in the faculties of medicine and pharmacy.

Male students have joined the protest in support of female colleagues, who claim that some teachers have demanded sex in return for exam passes.

The accusations are proving a major embarrassment to the country's president, General Lansana Conte, who, because of the pro-government leanings of some of the accused lecturers, fears that the opposition may use the issue to indict his administration.

The students' threat to publish the names of staff has prompted General Conte to launch an inquiry into the allegations.

Meanwhile, the security forces have stepped up their vigilance on the campus.

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