Conakry - A mob lynched four men accused of the murder of a gold seller on Sunday in east Guinea, a witness and official sources told AFP, after dragging them out of the prison where they were being held.
"[The crowd] forced their way through the prison gate, grabbed the men suspected of killing the gold seller [and] beat them to death," said Alseny Bah, a student who lives in the town of Kouroussa.
"I saw the four bodies spread across the ground," he said, adding that one of the men had been burned alive after being beaten.
The crowd had learned that the courts were preparing to release the men, said a local security source who asked to remain anonymous, confirming the deaths of the four men.
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"It's a small town, everyone found out what was going on at the same time," the security source said.
Gold-seller Kaba Camara, who came from the neighbouring town of Siguiri, was killed by unknown attackers on November 1 in Kouroussa.
"Authorities began an investigation and 16 people were arrested," a local official told AFP.
A trial began on Friday and at least one person was sentenced to six days in prison and given a fine of 300 000 FCFA ($480), he said.
The official confirmed that three of the suspects had been beaten to death and a fourth burned alive by the mob.
The Guinean government released a statement saying that those involved in the lynching would be brought to justice.
"The four defendants were savagely killed by the crowd. We condemn these killings... those involved will feel the full weight of the law," it said.