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Guinea Coup Leaders Name New Government

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Guinea's military rulers have announced a new government and compulsory military service along with plans to privatize water, electricity, and telephone service. Soldiers took power last month following the death of long-time president Lansana Conte.

Coup leader Captain Moussa Camara named nearly 30 ministers to fill-out the government of his civilian prime minister Kabine Komara.

Many of those appointed are members of Guinea's ruling military council, including the coup's number-two man as security minister and its number-three man as defense minister and chair of a new Audit and Oversight Committee for Strategic Economic Sectors. The economy and finance portfolios went to an army captain.

Captain Camara named a former finance minister to lead the auditing and good-governance programs and a former banker as ministry of mines but left out many of the politicians and labor leaders who served in President Conte's Cabinet.

In a statement on national radio and television late Wednesday, Captain Camara introduced compulsory military service for students and announced ambitious plans to privatize Guinea's water, electricity, and telecommunications providers.

He said the military government will conduct an international audit of Guinea's last five years of public accounts and will revise the terms of mining contracts. Mining is the country's largest foreign currency earner as Guinea is the world's biggest source of aluminum ore.

Captain Camara took power within hours of President Conte's death last month, promising  legislative and presidential elections in December 2010.

The African Union and the Economic Community of West African States have suspended Guinea in hopes of forcing elections sooner. The current ECOWAS leader Nigerian President Umaru Yar'Adua says democratic principles must be respected.

Senegalese President Abdoulaye Wade says he believes Captain Camara is an honest young man who deserves the chance to organize free elections. President Wade has suggested that those elections could take place this year.

Before President Conte's death, legislative elections were scheduled for 2009.

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