Lansana Conté (c. 1934 – 22 December 2008) was the President of Guinea from 3 April 1984 until his death. He was a Muslim and a member of the Susu ethnic group.
Born in Moussayah Loumbaya (Dubréka), a member of the Susu people, he estimated his birthdate to be 1934, although he never knew exactly. Conté was educated at a local Quranic school and attended Dubréka primary school. He then went on to study at military preparatory schools in Bingerville, Côte d'Ivoire and Saint Louis, Senegal.
In 1955, he enlisted in the French army and was posted to Algeria during the war of independence in 1957. After his service in the French Army, Conté returned to Guinea, which became independent from France on 2 October 1958, and was integrated into the new army with the rank of sergeant. In 1962, he attended the Camp Alpha officer's school in Conakry. Soon after, he was transferred to the 2nd Battalion artillery-training center in Kindia. On 1 July 1963, he was promoted to Second Lieutenant. This was followed two years later by another promotion from Second Lieutenant to Lieutenant. On 22 November 1970, a group of Guinean exiles invaded the country from Portuguese Guinea (now Guinea-Bissau) in an apparent attempt to overthrow the government of President Ahmed Sékou Touré. Conté participated in operations to defend the capital and government forces soon suppressed the invasion. For his service to the nation, he was promoted to the rank of Captain on 27 February 1971. In 1973, he was named commander of the Boké operational zone (in Northwestern Guinea) to assist the pro-independence guerrilla movement, African Party for the Independence of Guinea and Cape Verde (PAIGC) in neighboring Portuguese Guinea. On 10 May 1975, he was named assistant Chief of Staff of the army.