Military coup follows death of Guinea's president
The Army dissolved government offices just hours after President Lansana Conte's death on Tuesday.
Hours after the death of Guinea's President Lansana Conte Tuesday, the Army dissolved the government and suspended the Constitution.Skip to next paragraph
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The African Union is monitoring developments in the wake of the military takeover as an ensuing power struggle could destabilize the country, which is divided along ethnic lines.
President Lansana Conte … died Monday night, the country's National Assembly president announced at about 2 a.m.
A uniformed spokesman for a group calling itself the National Council for Democracy began broadcasting its announcement of the takeover at around 7:30 a.m. local time on state-run radio and TV.
"The constitution is dissolved," the unidentified spokesman said. "The government is dissolved. The institutions of the republic are dissolved," he went on. "From this moment on, the council is taking charge of the destiny of the Guinean people."
He said presidential elections will be organized shortly, but did not elaborate.
The identity of the National Council for Democracy spokesman could not be immediately ascertained, reports Reuters Africa.
Journalists at state radio headquarters contacted by Reuters said a group of soldiers had entered the building and forced staff to broadcast the communique….
The identity of the soldiers who made the broadcast was not immediately known and it was not immediately possible to establish whether other government locations and institutions had been taken over by the military.
In the early morning radio address, the spokesman for the council, since identified as Capt. Moussa Dabiss Camara, emphasized the need for a new, ethnically balanced Guinean government, reports Bloomberg. He added that a military official would serve as president alongside a civilian prime minister.
In a statement read on state radio, [Camara] cited "the incapacity of the republican institutions to resolve the crises, the incapacity of the government to supply Guineans with basic social services." He also criticized the government's inability to revise contracts with mining companies.
Before the dissolution of the government was announced, "Prime Minister Ahmed Tidiane Souare appeared on state television where he appealed for calm among the 'brave Guinean people' and called on the Army to help keep the peace," reports Agence France-Presse (AFP).
In fact, during the televised broadcast in which the government announced Conte's death, the president of the National Assembly Aboubacar Sompare was seen standing next to the head of the armed forces, suggesting that the military would allow a peaceful, constitutional transfer of power, reports Reuters. By law, Mr. Sompare should lead the country until an election is held within 90 days.
Sompare asked the country's Supreme Court to name him president in line with the Constitution. He was expected to subsequently organise elections to choose a new president.