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STORY: Rival gangs fought with knives and truncheons in Guinea's crumbling seaside capital Friday as ethnic tensions worsened ahead of an election in the unstable West African nation, witnesses said.
Security forces in full anti-riot gear piled into the backs of pick-up trucks and deployed across Conakry to separate the fighters as President Alpha Conde's government appealed for calm.
The long-delayed legislative vote, tentatively set for May, is needed to complete a transition to civilian rule after a 2008 military coup, and could open the door to hundreds of millions of dollars in European aid.
But preparations for the poll have been hampered by opposition claims the government is seeking to rig the outcome in advance, leading to a political impasse and sparking sporadic street protests that often turn violent.
Politics in Guinea are mainly drawn along ethnic lines with the opposition coalition broadly supported by membe