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Guinean coup leader named interim head, imposes curfew
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Guinean coup leader has been named the head of an interim National Council for Democracy and Development while imposing a dusk-to-morning curfew, according to the latest information reaching Abidjan on Thursday.

Captain Moussa Camara, once in charge of the army's fuel supplies, was put at the head of the council composed of 26 military members and six civilians, said a communique announced on the state radio on Wednesday.

Radio France Internationale (RFI) said Camara would also be named the Guinean president and would move to the presidential compound in the coming hours.

Hundreds of putschist soldiers were reported to stage a military parade in the Guinean capital of Conakry, where President Lansana Conte died two days ago after ruling the country for 24 years.

Meanwhile, the newly-formed council imposed a nation-wide curfew from 8:00 p.m. (2000 GMT) to 6:00 a.m. local time (0600 GMT).

The council said it is "committed to organizing credible and transparent elections by the end of December 2010."

Under the constitution, National Assembly President Aboubacar Sompare is to take over power in absence of the head of state. He is also entitled to organize a presidential vote within 60 days.

But Camara on Tuesday announced the dissolving of the government and the constitution, saying a consultative body of civilian and military members would be created to take over the fate of the country.

Guinean Prime Minister Ahmed Tidiane Souare has denied his government was dissolved. He told RFI that he was still in office, "working on the organization of the funeral."

Army chief staff Diarra Camara called on the military to keep calm and show restraint. "I appeal to them to remain calm and loyal," he said in a communique, urging grievances be shelved until a state funeral is given to the late president.

The military chief accompanied Souare and Sompare when Sompare announced the death of Conte in the early hours of Tuesday.

Loyalist and putschist officers were later reported to hold talks at Alpha Yaya Diallo barracks to find a possible way out of the turmoil. The army camp is seen as the stronghold of the mutineers where a previous coup attempt against Conte aborted.

Government officials said revolt soldiers represented only a minority taking advantage of the death of President Conte to usurp power. They insisted on the legality of the government under the constitution.

A number of nations and international groups have voiced opposition to the coup, including the Economic Community of West African States, the African Union, the United Nations, the European Union and the United States.

Conte died at the age of 74 at 6:45 p.m. local time (1845 GMT) on Monday in a hospital in Conakry. He came to power in 1984 and was elected president in 1993. Conte won re-elections in 1998 and 2003.

Guinea won independence from France in 1958. It borders Guinea- Bissau, Senegal and Mali in the north, Cote d'Ivoire in the east, Sierra Leone and Liberia in the south and the Atlantic Ocean in the west.

With an area of 245,857 square km and the population of 9.56 million, the country is also known for its rich mineral deposits, especially bauxite which accounts for half of the world's total reserves. The country, however, remained one of the poorest in the world.

(Xinhua News Agency December 25, 2008)

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