Coup in Guinea after dictator Lansana Conte dies
Barely a day after the death of dictator Lansana Conte, There has been a military coup in the west african country of Guinea. An unidentified Army spokesperson appeared on TV today wearing a military uniform and read the statement saying the government, including the constitution, courts and the parliament had been dissolved.
The announcement comes just six hours after officials declared the death of Guinea's dictator, Lansana Conte. The constitution calls for the president of the National Assembly to be sworn in as the country's next president.
A nation of 10 million Guniea is one of the World's poorest country and has been ruled by only two men since it gained independence from France half a century ago.
In an apparent coup d'etat, a spokesman wearing a military uniform read a statement on television saying the government, constitution, courts and parliament had been dissolved. The speaker did not state his name or his rank.
Conte, 74, died after a lengthy illness. He had ruled the west African nation with an iron fist since taking power in a 1984 coup.
He was one of the last members of a dwindling group of so-called "African Big Men" who came to power by the gun and resisted the democratic tide sweeping the continent.
The national assembly president, Aboubacar Sompare, flanked by the country's prime minister and the head of the army, appeared on state-run TV to announce that Conte had died yesterday of an undisclosed illness. "I have the heavy duty of informing the people of Guinea of the death of General Lansana Conte following a long illness," said Sompare. "I present my condolences to he who during all these years hid his physical suffering in order to give happiness to Guinea."
In his statement, Sompare called on the country's courts to name him president. Guinea's constitution calls for the head of the national assembly to take over if the president dies, and the fact that Sompare addressed the nation alongside the head of the armed forces had allowed citizens to briefly hope that the transfer of power would not be upended by a coup. But then the military stepped in.