Guinea coup leader declares himself president

December 25th, 2008 - 2:05 pm ICT by IANS  

Conakry (Guinea), Dec 25 (DPA) The leader of a military coup attempt in Guinea has declared himself president after a triumphant parade through the streets of the capital here.Captain Moussa Dadis Camara, who Tuesday announced that the government and constitution were suspended hours after the death of President Lansana Conte, told reporters that “free and transparent” elections would be held in 2010.

Camara and his men were cheered through the streets of Conakry by thousands of people Wednesday evening, reports said.

An overnight curfew imposed by the coup leaders was postponed until Dec 26 to allow for the Christmas holidays.

Coup leaders earlier this week named a national council made up of 26 military leaders and six civilians to replace the government. Ministers from the previous government have been ordered to report to a military base.

However, National Assembly President Aboubacar Sompare, who according to the former French colony’s constitution should become interim president until an election is organized, and Prime Minister Ahmed Tidiane Souare have claimed they are still in charge.

The European Union, African Union and UN have condemned the coup and called on all parties to respect the constitution and ensure a peaceful transition.

The AU’s Peace and Security Council Wednesday held an emergency meeting to discuss the crisis and called on senior military officers to bring the junior officers staging the coup into line.

Analysts warned that months of uncertainty lay ahead.

“Expect … a high possibility of further coups, counter coups and sham elections amid a period of ethnic and political disequilibrium,” Sebastian Spio-Garbrah, an analyst at the New York-based Eurasia Group, said in a note.

There are also fears that the unrest could spread across the region, and neighbouring Liberia Wednesday said it was beefing up security.

Conte took control of Guinea in a bloodless coup in 1984 and kept a tight grip on the nation until his death.

In recent years, however, Conte saw his leadership tested by a military mutiny, anti-government riots and strikes over the rising cost of food and fuel.

The leader was known to suffer from diabetes and was a heavy smoker. His exact birth date is not known, but he was believed to have been 74.

Guinea is still largely poverty-stricken despite having the world’s largest reserves of bauxite, an ore used to make aluminium, and significant deposits of gold and diamonds.

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