Guinea’s renegade army resorts to threats

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Following a statement from Guinean Army Captain, Mussa Dadis, that the military had taken over power, Aboubacar Sompare, the head of the national assembly has urged the international community to step in and prevent any ongoing military coup.

The African Union, European Union and United States have however led condemnation of any underlying coup plot. According to Guinea’s constitution, the Prime Minister, Mr. Sompare should be in charge of the government until elections are held in 60 days but in a statement on national television, coup leader Capt Capt Mussa Dadis Camara accused loyalist troops of seeking “the intervention of foreign mercenaries from neighbouring countries and vowed to take over power.

The Guinean government is currently protected by loyal troops. The military is split between loyalists and coup-plotters and experts say that a power struggle in the army could be extremely dangerous given the country’s ethnic divisions.

According to Mr. Sompare, “The situation hasn’t been resolved yet. Loyalists and coup-mongers have met… but they haven’t been able to reach an agreement.”

France, AU and the international community

The prime minister has asked for international assistance to prevent a military take over in the country. “The international community must… prevent the military from interrupting the democratic process.”

African Union leaders are holding emergency talks on the crisis. Former colonial power France, in its capacity as the current holder of the EU presidency – said it would oppose any attempted coup in Guinea.

The crisis began hours after the death of President Conte, when coup spokesman Capt Camara went on state radio to say that the government and other institutions had been dissolved in favour of a National Council for Democracy.

He said he would head a 32-member national council that would run the country. Later, he said the council would hold “free, credible and transparent elections” in December 2010, when President Conte’s term would have ended.

“The council has no ambitions to hold on to power. The only reason is the need to safeguard territorial integrity. That is the only reason. There is no ulterior motive,” he said.

Reports claim that there are tanks on the streets of Conakry, but for the moment the city is calm.

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