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Guinea Awaits Future After Coup Leaders Demand Talks

The West African state of Guinea awaited word on its future on Monday as a new military junta summoned the outgoing cabinet a day after toppling the president.

Elite troops led by Lieutenant-colonel Mamady Doumbouya told outgoing ministers and institutional leaders to gather at 1100 GMT at parliament in the capital Conakry.

“Any refusal to attend will be considered a rebellion,” they warned.

Impoverished and volatile, the West African state was hit by fresh turmoil on Sunday when special forces arrested 83-year-old President Alpha Conde, declared they were scrapping the constitution and imposed a curfew.

Land borders have been shut, the government dissolved and top governors and other senior administrators have been replaced by the military, the junta said.

Discontent had been growing for months over a flatlining Covid-hit economy and the leadership of Conde, who became Guinea’s first democratically elected president in 2010.

Five years later, he was re-elected — but in 2020 he sparked fury after ramming through changes to the constitution enabling him to sidestep a two-term limit.

Doumbouya appeared on public television on Sunday draped in the national flag, accusing the government of “endemic corruption” and “trampling of citizens’ rights”.

“We are no longer going to entrust politics to one man, we are going to entrust politics to the people,” the coup leader said.

“Guinea is beautiful. We don’t need to rape Guinea anymore, we just need to make love to her.”

He promised to launch a “national consultation to open an inclusive and calm transition.”

An umbrella group called the FNDC, which led protests against Conde’s constitutional changes, said imprisoned members would be freed on Monday.

A video sent to AFP by the putschists on Sunday showed Conde sitting on a sofa surrounded by troops.

Wearing a rumpled shirt and jeans and sitting on a sofa, he refused to answer a question from a soldier about whether he had been mistreated.

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