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Guinea coup leader claims himself "president"
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09:28, December 26, 2008

 Related News
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Guinea's coup leader Captain Moussa Camara has claimed himself "the president of the Republic" after he was named head of the interim National Council for Democracy and Development (CNDD), according to information monitored here.

"I am the president of the Republic," he announced after emerging from the presidential palace on Wednesday, Radio France Internationale (RFI) reported.

Camara went for his evening debut at the palace situated in the center of the capital Conakry.

The coup leader, however, did not make a discourse.

Before the arrival of Camara, thousands of people lined up the avenue leading to the presidential compound, the RFI reported.

Hundreds of soldiers paraded down the streets of Conakry in the afternoon, with some flashing fingers for victory, a sign of support for the military junta.

Most of the people standing along the streets watching the parade did not show particular sympathy, although the soldiers were acclaimed by hundreds of the standers-by.

Meanwhile, the CNDD postponed a dusk-to-morning curfew until Friday, after announcing its imposition on Wednesday, citing the reason for the country's Christians to spend Christmas Day in "tranquility."

The CNDD previously declared a nationwide curfew from 8:00 p.m. local time (2000 GMT) to 6:00 a.m. (0600 GMT), apparently in a step to tighten its grip on power.

It also committed itself "to organizing credible and transparent elections by the end of December 2010."

Under the constitution, National Assembly President Aboubacar Sompare is to take over power in absence of the head of state. He is also entitled to organize a presidential vote within 60 days.

But Camara on Tuesday announced the dissolving of the government and the constitution, saying a consultative body of civilian and military members would be created to take over the fate of the country.

The military junta again ordered leaders of the government to turn themselves in at the Alpha Yaya Diallo barracks, threatening to launch a search for any of them failing to show up.

The junta first ordered them to report at the army camp right after announcing the coup on Tuesday.

The mutiny came hours after the state radio broadcast the death of President Lansana Conte, who ruled the country for 24 years.

A number of countries and international groups have voiced opposition to the coup, including the Economic Community of West African States, the African Union, the United Nations, the European Union and the United States.

Conte died at the age of 74 at 6:45 p.m. local time (1845 GMT) on Monday in a hospital in Conakry. He came to power in 1984 and was elected president in 1993. Conte won re-elections in 1998 and 2003.

Guinea won independence from France in 1958. It borders Guinea-Bissau, Senegal and Mali in the north, Cote d'Ivoire in the east, Sierra Leone and Liberia in the south and the Atlantic Ocean in the west.

With an area of 245,857 square kilometers and a population of 9.56 million, the country is also known for its rich mineral deposits, especially bauxite which accounts for half of the world's total reserves. The country, however, remained one of the poorest in the world.


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