The country's population was ethnically diverse, with three main ethnic groups and several smaller ones identifying with specific regions. The three major groups are the Soussou in Lower Guinea, the Peuhl in Middle Guinea, and the Malinke in Upper Guinea. There were smaller ethnic groups throughout the country. Conakry, other large urban areas such as Kankan, and the Forest Region were ethnically heterogeneous.
While the law prohibits racial or ethnic discrimination, ethnic identification was strong. Mutual suspicion, both inside and outside the government, affected relations across ethnic lines. Widespread societal ethnic discrimination by members of all major ethnic groups was evident in private-sector hiring patterns, in the ethnic segregation of urban neighborhoods, and in the relatively low levels of interethnic marriage. Political campaigns capitalized on ethnic divisions, and divisive ethnic rhetoric spurred civilian clashes in Conakry that resulted in the deaths of at least two persons during the year. The government and the National Transitional Council implemented several sensitization programs throughout the year to highlight the importance of peace and unity among ethnic groups. It also held conferences and purchased radio and television programming to combat ethnic tensions and to encourage political leaders to avoid using divisive ethnic rhetoric.
Vigilante violence occurred during the year. For example, on September 27, a Sousou man argued with his ethnic Peuhl neighbor over the effectiveness of
opposition-sponsored protests earlier that day. The argument quickly became violent, with the Soussou man stabbing his Peuhl neighbor, who later died from his injuries. A crowd of Peuhls quickly subdued the fleeing Soussou man and stabbed him to death.
Interreligious conflict resulted in deaths (see section 1 .d.).