The government of Guinea has been thrown into turmoil following the death of the country’s president, Lansana Conte, who had ruled the country since he took power in a military coup in 1984.
Lansana Conte died last night, and the Guinean government announced his passing at around 2 am. The announcement was followed by a coup attempt.
Within hours, a group led by military officials moved to dissolve the country’s government and suspend its constitution. A leader of the group, Captain Moussa Dadis Camara, said in a radio address that a “consultative council” of civilian and military leaders is being set up in place of the former government.
Guinea is situated in western Africa on the Atlantic Ocean coast. It boasts abundant mineral resources but remains one of the poorer countries in West Africa, and has been ruled by two successive strongman leaders since it gained independence from France in 1958.
Update (December 24, 2008): Meanwhile, members from Guinea’s preexisting government have appealed to international authorities to refuse to recognize the putschists as legitimate leaders of the country. The head of Guinea’s national assembly called on international authorities to “prevent the military from interrupting the democratic process.” Yet the leaders of the coup pressed ahead with their claims, saying they would hold elections in December 2010.