Military coup follows death of Guinea's president
The Army dissolved government offices just hours after President Lansana Conte's death on Tuesday.
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According to the BBC, Conte's rule had become more oppressive and unconstitutional in the years before his death.Skip to next paragraph
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He came to power in 1984 at the head of a military coup to fill the power vacuum that had been left by the sudden death of his predecessor, Sekou Toure, who had been president since independence from France in 1958.
He eventually oversaw a return to civilian rule and was elected three times, although critics said the votes were never free or fair.
As his health declined over the last five years, it was often far from clear who was in charge and the government barely functioned, [a BBC] correspondent says. Some political parties were allowed to operate, but many opposition leaders were either intimidated by the authorities or jailed.
Conte's government was also facing increased protests against its rule, reports Bloomberg.
In early 2007, at least 110 people were killed by security forces after protests demanding Conte's resignation, according to Human Rights Watch. The year before soldiers shot dead 13 unarmed people during demonstrations against rising food prices, the New York-based group said.
Richard Cornwell, the Institute for Security Studies in South Africa, said: "We've been expecting for some years that Lansana Conte's health would eventually give in ... and there had been no preparation for any sort of succession….
"What we were really worried about, more than even a coup was the fact that the army might split and this would result in civil war.
"And of course with Guinea, being where it is ... with Sierra Leone and Liberia as its near neighbours, this would be very dangerous in that region."
Specifically, it is feared that the Guinean Army may split along ethnic lines, leading to a conflict, reports the BBC.
The BBC's Will Ross, in Ghana, says it is important to see whether the army is united on the way forward for Guinea, as a power struggle could be extremely dangerous given the deep ethnic divisions there….
The African Union is closely monitoring developments in Guinea, reports AFP.
The African Union is "preoccupied and keenly monitoring" political developments in Guinea after the death of President Lansana Conte, a senior official said on Tuesday.
"We pay homage to the memory of the departed head of state, but we are preoccupied and keenly following this development and the succession of president Conte," the AU's Peace and Security Commissioner Ramtane Lamamra told AFP.