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Africa

African Union opens emergency talks on Guinea

Latest update : 2008-12-24

The talks began Wednesday in the Ethiopian capital Addis Ababa after the death of veteran President Lansana Conte late on Monday opened a power vacuum and triggered a coup attempt by mutinous soldiers.

AFP -  The African Union began emergency talks Wednesday on Guinea, where mutinous troops announced they had seized power after the death of Lansana Conte who ruled with an iron fist for 24 years.

The members of the Peace and Security Council observed a minute's silence before the closed door discussions, held a day after the bloc's commission chief Jean Ping strongly condemned the coup attempt in the west African nation.

The spokesman of the coup plotters, Captain Moussa Dadis Camara, announced a "national council for democracy and development" comprising 26 army officers and six civilians, but the government in Conakry said it was still in control.

Guinea's constitution stipulates that the speaker of the national assembly will act as interim president until fresh elections are held.

The situation in the mineral-rich West African country remained confused on Wednesday with both Prime Minister Ahmed Tidiane Souare and parliament speaker Aboubacar Sompare contesting the plotters' assertion.

Sompare said only a "minority of soldiers and officers" were involved in the coup bid.

Conte -- a reclusive chain-smoking soldier who came to power in a putsch -- died late Monday after a long undisclosed illness.

Date created : 2008-12-24