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.
    In State of Emergency, Turkey’s Erdogan Focuses on Spiritual Movementi
    X
    July 22, 2016 11:49 AM
    The state of emergency that Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan has declared is giving him even more power to expand a purge that has seen an estimated 60,000 people either arrested or suspended from their jobs. VOA Europe correspondent Luis Ramirez reports from Istanbul.
    Video

    Video In State of Emergency, Turkey’s Erdogan Focuses on Spiritual Movement

    The state of emergency that Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan has declared is giving him even more power to expand a purge that has seen an estimated 60,000 people either arrested or suspended from their jobs. VOA Europe correspondent Luis Ramirez reports from Istanbul.
    Video

    Video Scientists in Poland Race to Save Honeybees

    Honeybees are in danger worldwide. Causes of what's known as colony collapse disorder range from pesticides and loss of habitat to infections. But scientists in Poland say they are on track to finding a cure for one of the diseases. VOA’s George Putic reports.
    Video

    Video Wall Already Runs Along Parts of US-Mexico Border

    The Republican Party’s presidential nominee, Donald Trump, gained the support of many voters by saying he would build a wall to keep undocumented immigrants and drugs from coming across the border from Mexico. Critics have called his idea impractical and offensive to Mexico, while supporters say such a bold approach is needed to control the border. VOA’s Greg Flakus has more from the border town of Nogales, Arizona.
    Video

    Video New HIV Tests Emphasize Rapid Results

    As the global fight against AIDS intensifies, activists have placed increasing importance on getting people to know their HIV status. Some companies are developing new HIV testing methods designed to be quick, easy and accurate. Thuso Khumalo looks at the latest methods, presented at the International AIDS conference in Durban, South Africa.
    Video

    Video African Youth with HIV Urge More Support

    HIV, the virus that causes AIDS, is the top killer of teens in sub-Saharan Africa. But many youths say their experience with the virus is unique and needs to be addressed differently than the adult epidemic. VOA South African Correspondent Anita Powell reports.
    Video

    Video Poor Residents in Cleveland Not Feeling High Hopes of Republican Convention

    With the Republican Party's National Convention underway in Cleveland, Ohio, delegates and visitors are gathered in the host city's downtown - waiting to hear from the party's presidential candidate, Donald Trump. But a few kilometers from the convention's venue, Cleveland's poorest residents are not convinced Trump or his policies will make a difference in their lives. VOA's Ramon Taylor spoke with some of these residents as well as some of the Republican delegates and filed this report.
    Video

    Video Pop-Up Art Comes to Your Living Room, Backyard and Elsewhere

    Around the world, independent artists and musicians wrestle with a common problem: where to exhibit or perform? Traditional spaces such as museums and galleries are reserved for bigger names, and renting a space is not feasible for many. Enter ArtsUp, which connects artists with venue owners. Whether it’s a living room, restaurant, office or even a boat, pop-up events are bringing music and art to unexpected places. Tina Trinh has more.
    Video

    Video With Yosemite as Backdrop, Obama Praises National Parks

    Last month, President Barack Obama and his family visited some of the most beautiful national parks in the U.S. Using the majestic backdrop of a towering waterfall in California's Yosemite National Park, Obama praised the national park system which celebrates its 100th anniversary this year. He talked about the importance of America’s “national treasures” and the need to protect them from climate change and other threats. VOA’s Julie Taboh reports.
    Video

    Video Counter-Islamic State Coalition Plots Next Steps

    As momentum shifts against Islamic State in Iraq, discussions are taking place about the next steps for driving the terrorist group from its final strongholds. Secretary of State John Kerry is hosting a counter-IS meeting at the State Department, a day after defense ministers from more than 30 countries reviewed and agreed upon a course of action. VOA Pentagon correspondent Carla Babb reports.
    Video

    Video Russia's Participation at Brazil Olympic Games Still In Question

    The International Olympic Committee has delayed a decision on whether to ban all Russian teams from competing in next month's Olympic Games in Brazil over allegations of an elaborate doping scheme. The World Anti-Doping Agency recently released an independent report alleging widespread doping by Russian athletes at the 2014 Winter Olympics in Sochi. So far, only Russian track and field athletes have been barred from the Summer Games in Brazil. VOA's Zlatica Hoke has more.
    Video

    Video Scotland’s Booming Whisky Industry Fears Brexit Hangover

    After Britain’s vote to leave the European Union, Scotland’s government wants to break away from the United Kingdom – fearing the nation’s exports are at risk. Among the biggest of these is whisky. Henry Ridgwell reports on a time of turmoil for those involved in the ancient art of distilling Scotland’s most famous product.
    Video

    Video Millennials Could Determine Who Wins Race to White House

    With only four months to go until Americans elect a new president, one group of voters is getting a lot more attention these days: those ages 18 to 35, a generation known as millennials. It’s a demographic that some analysts say could have the power to decide the 2016 election. But a lot depends on whether they actually turn out to vote. VOA’s Alexa Lamanna reports.

    Special Report

    Adrift The Invisible African Diaspora