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Civilians say they still rule in Guinea

Dec. 23, 2008 at 2:25 PM

CONAKRY, Guinea, Dec. 23 (UPI) -- The Guinean prime minister said Tuesday that his government is still running the country after the death of the president and an attempted military coup.

Ahmed Tidiane Souare told French radio that the officers involved in trying to take over the government did not use force, Voice of America reported.

President Lansana Conte, 74, who came to power in a 1984 coup and was elected president in 1993, died Monday.

Army Chief of Staff General Diarra Camara, who said he did not believe the coup was a success, urged the military and officials to follow the Constitution.

The coup was announced by an army captain, Moussa Dadis Camara. He blamed the Conte government for "unprecedented economic and social crisis" and said a joint civilian and military council would be established to govern Guinea temporarily.

Guinea's constitution provides that the president of the National Assembly, Aboubacar Sompare, be acting president pending an election. A 40-day period of national mourning has been declared.

Conakry, the capital city, appeared calm and quiet, with most people following instructions to remain at home, the VOA said.

Officials in neighboring countries such as Liberia, Sierra Leone and Ivory Coast said they fear any unrest inside Guinea could spill over into their countries, the BBC reported.

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