Ousted Guinea PM backs coup leader

Captain Moussa Camara consolidates grip on power after deposed government figures surrender.

    Camara has been embraced by Guinea's population while drawing international condemnation [AFP]

    Camara ordered the government and senior military leaders to give themselves up by the end of Thursday.

    Military camp meeting

    Former government ministers gathered at Souare's suburban home before boarding cars and driving off to the military camp, trailed by a number of soldiers, the AFP news agency reported.

    Camara paraded through the capital on Wednesday with hundreds of soldiers amid cheering crowds.

    The coup followed the death of Conte, one of Africa's longest-serving rulers[Reuters]
    He was unknown to most Guineans until this week, when he and other members of his faction announced a coup d'etat following Conte's death.

    The coup leaders initially promised elections within 60 days, but Camara said on Wednesday that the group would organise a presidential election by 2010.

    Camara also plans to lead a 32-member National Council for Democracy and Development (CNDD), made up of 26 military officers and six civilians.

    Al Jazeera's Yvonne Ndege, reporting from the Ivory Coast capital Abidjan, said there were fears that the developments in Guinea could destabilise the neighbouring countries.

    She noted the stark contrast between the rejection of the coup by the African and international political communities and its apparent embrace by the Guinean population.

    Enthusiastic atmosphere

    Richard Cornwell, a regional analyst from the Institute of Security Studies in Pretoria, South Africa, told Al Jazeera that there seems to be an enthusiastic atmosphere for Camara.

    "It's early days yet, a lot can happen in politics even in one week ... and there are all kinds of ambitious politicians there who may have their own interests in mind," he said.

    "But it is well known that the army itself has a lot of grievances against the old regime, and there may be future attempts to change just who may be heading this country, but all this remains to be seen."

    Thousands of Guineans cheered Camara as he brandished the national flag, while on board a military convoy, waving to the crowd in Conakry on Wednesday.

    The pro-coup forces continue to move freely and unopposed around the sprawling coastal city, and according to witnesses and police sources, were arresting potential opponents.

    In a televised statement broadcast on Wednesday, Camara defended the coup as "a civic act ... to save a people in distress".

    But the UN, the European Union and the US all condemned the latest political upheaval in Africa, which follows post-election turmoil in Kenya and Zimbabwe, and an August military coup in Mauritania.

    SOURCE: Al Jazeera and agencies


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