News

    Tens of Thousands of Guineans Attend Conte Funeral

    Multimedia

    Audio

    Thousands of Guineans turned out Friday to pay their respects to former President Lansana Conte, whose death this week sparked a military coup. Mutinous soldiers have consolidated power with the resignation of Guinea's prime minister.

    Thousands of people took part in services marking President Conte's death.

    Heads of state from neighboring Guinea-Bissau, Liberia, Ivory Coast, and Sierra Leone watched as Conte's coffin entered the People's Palace draped in Guinea's red, yellow, and green national flag. The prime minister of Mali attended the services as did African Union Commission Chairman Jean Ping.

    Conte allies eulogized the long-time leader. Guinea's deposed Prime Minister Ahmed Tidiane Souare was joined by more than two dozen former government officials who have surrendered to mutinous soldiers.

    Conte's coffin was taken to the city's central stadium where most people were dressed in white, the traditional Muslim color of mourning.

    Coup leader Captain Moussa Camara did not attend the memorial services.  His second-in-command, General Mamadou Toto Camara did not explain the captain's absence but said the military reassures Guineans that it will guarantee their well-being.

    General Camara said the military pays homage to President Conte and prays to God to give them the courage to continue his work of tolerance and peace.

    Junior officers launched their coup Tuesday within hours of President Conte's death. Souare and other government officials tried to hang on to power, appealing for popular support and international pressure to put down the military take-over.

    But a reporter for VOA in Conakry says no one tried to stop the mutinous soldiers. They paraded Captain Camara through the streets of the capital Wednesday evening, carrying him to the presidential palace and proclaiming him the nation's new leader.

    Coup leaders consolidated their power with Souare's resignation Thursday. Addressing Captain Camara as the president of the newly-formed National Council for Democracy and Development, Souare said all members of the former government are at the military's disposal for the good of the nation.

    Captain Camara had given former government officials until Thursday evening to turn themselves in or risk being caught-up in a nationwide sweep of those still loyal to the former government. Still unaccounted for is National Assembly Speaker Aboubacar Sompare who, under Guinea's constitution, should have been named president ahead of elections in 60 days.

    The African Union, United States and European Union are calling for Guinea to quickly return to democratic rule.

    Camara says his ruling council of six civilians and 26 soldiers will organize "free, credible, and transparent" elections in December 2010. He told reporters he will not be a candidate in that election because he said soldiers have no wish to cling to power.

    A statement on national radio said coup leaders will meet with political, religious, and labor leaders Saturday morning ahead of talks with representatives from the United Nations, the
    African Union, the European Union and the Group of Eight leading industrialized nations.

    France currently holds the rotating chair of the European Union. A French Foreign Ministry spokesman said foreign diplomats will meet in the capital Conakry Saturday.

    Lansana Conte was only Guinea's second head of state, ruling for nearly 25 years after taking power in a coup following the death of post-independence leader Ahmed Sekou Toure. President Conte was thought to be in his 70s and had been ill for some time. He was a heavy smoker who suffered from diabetes.

    He first won election as president in 1993 in a vote protested by political opponents because some results were canceled. He survived a February 1996 army mutiny over pay in which at least 40 people were killed. The president was captured by mutineers who later freed him when he promised to raise salaries for troops.

    President Conte was re-elected in 1998 after his main challenger was jailed for sedition. A referendum changing the constitution to remove term limits allowed President Conte to run again in 2003. Most opposition parties boycotted that ballot, and he was re-elected with more than 95 percent of the vote.  He survived a 2005 assassination attempt and a general strike and army mutiny last year.

    President Conte is being buried in his village about 100 kilometers outside the capital.

     

     

    This forum has been closed.
    Comments
         
    There are no comments in this forum. Be first and add one

    Featured Videos

    Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
    Uganda Unveils its First Solar-powered Busi
    X
    July 28, 2016 4:16 AM
    A solar-powered bus described by its Ugandan makers as the first in Africa has made its public debut. Kiira Motors' electric bus, Kayoola, displayed recently at a stadium in Uganda's capital. From Kampala, Maurice Magorane filed this report narrated by Salem Solomon.
    Video

    Video Uganda Unveils its First Solar-powered Bus

    A solar-powered bus described by its Ugandan makers as the first in Africa has made its public debut. Kiira Motors' electric bus, Kayoola, displayed recently at a stadium in Uganda's capital. From Kampala, Maurice Magorane filed this report narrated by Salem Solomon.
    Video

    Video Silicon Valley: More Than A Place, It's a Culture

    Silicon Valley is a technology powerhouse and a place that companies such as Google, Facebook and Apple call home. It is a region in northern California that stretches from San Francisco to San Jose. But, more than that, it's known for its startup culture. VOA's Elizabeth Lee went inside one company to find out what it's like to work in a startup.
    Video

    Video Immigrant Delegate Marvels at Democratic Process

    It’s been a bitter and divisive election season – but first time Indian-American delegate Dr. Shashi Gupta headed to the Democratic National Convention with a sense of hope. VOA’s Katherine Gypson followed this immigrant with the love of U.S. politics all the way to Philadelphia.
    Video

    Video Philadelphia Uses DNC Spotlight to Profile Historic Role in Founding of United States

    The slogan of the Democratic National Convention now underway in Philadelphia is “Let’s Make History Again” which recognizes the role the city played in the foundation of the United States in the 18th century. As VOA’s Kane Farabaugh reports, local institutions are opening their doors in an effort to capitalize on the convention spotlight to draw visitors, and to offer more than just a history lesson.
    Video

    Video A Life of Fighting Back: Hillary Clinton Shatters Glass Ceiling

    Hillary Clinton made history Thursday, overcoming personal and political setbacks to become the first woman to win the presidential nomination of a major U.S. political party. If she wins in November, she will go from “first lady” to U.S. Senator from New York, to Secretary of State, to “Madam President.” Polls show Clinton is both beloved and despised. White House Correspondent Cindy Saine takes a look at the life of the woman both supporters and detractors agree is a fighter for the ages.
    Video

    Video Dutch Entrepreneurs Turn Rainwater Into Beer

    June has been recorded as one of the wettest months in more than a century in many parts of Europe. To a group of entrepreneurs in Amsterdam the rain came as a blessing, as they used the extra water to brew beer. Serginho Roosblad has more to the story.
    Video

    Video First Time Delegate’s First Day Frustrations

    With thousands of people filling the streets of Philadelphia, Pennsylvania for the 2016 Democratic National Convention, VOA’s Kane Farabaugh narrowed in on one delegate as she made her first trip to a national party convention. It was a day that was anything but routine for this United States military veteran.
    Video

    Video Commerce Thrives on US-Mexico Border

    At the Democratic Convention in Philadelphia this week, the party’s presumptive presidential nominee, Hillary Clinton, is expected to attack proposals made by her opponent, Republican presidential nominee Donald Trump, to build a wall along the U.S.-Mexico border. Last Friday, President Barack Obama hosted his Mexican counterpart, President Enrique Peña Nieto, to underscore the good relations between the two countries. VOA’s Greg Flakus reports from Tucson.
    Video

    Video Film Helps Save Ethiopian Children Thought to be Cursed

    'Omo Child' looks at effort of African man to stop killings of ‘mingi’ children
    Video

    Video London’s Financial Crown at Risk as Rivals Eye Brexit Opportunities

    By most measures, London rivals New York as the only true global financial center. But Britain’s vote to leave the European Union – so-called ‘Brexit’ – means the city could lose its right to sell services tariff-free across the bloc, risking its position as Europe’s financial headquarters. Already some banks have said they may shift operations to the mainland. Henry Ridgwell reports from London.
    Video

    Video Recycling Lifeline for Lebanon’s Last Glassblowers

    In a small Lebanese coastal town, one family is preserving a craft that stretches back millennia. The art of glass blowing was developed by Phoenicians in the region, and the Khalifehs say they are the only ones keeping the skill alive in Lebanon. But despite teaming up with an eco-entrepreneur and receiving an unexpected boost from the country’s recent trash crisis the future remains uncertain. John Owens reports from Sarafand.
    Video

    Video Migrants Continue to Risk Lives Crossing US Border from Mexico

    In his speech Thursday before the Republican National Convention, the party’s presidential candidate, Donald Trump, reiterated his proposal to build a wall along the U.S.-Mexico border if elected. Polls show a large percentage of Americans support better control of the nation's southwestern border, but as VOA’s Greg Flakus reports from the border town of Nogales in the Mexican state of Sonora, the situation faced by people trying to cross the border is already daunting.

    Special Report

    Adrift The Invisible African Diaspora