AU condemns Guinea coup

December 23, 2008 12:00 am

, ADDIS ABABA, Dec 23 – The African Union condemned Tuesday an attempt by military officers to seize power in Guinea and said it was convening an emergency meeting to discuss the situation.

"If the army coup is confirmed, it is a flagrant violation of the constitution and of African legality which absolutely forbids unconstitutional changes of government," said Peace and Security Commissioner Ramtane Lamamra.

African Union chief Jean Ping was about to announce a crisis meeting of the 53-nation bloc’s peace and security commission either later Tuesday or on Wednesday, Lamamra said.
Earlier, the commissioner had said the African Union was "keenly monitoring" developments in Guinea.

"We pay homage to the memory of the departed head of state, but we are preoccupied and keenly following this development and the succession of president Conte.

"We urge all the political and other state institutions in Guinea, especially the armed forces, to ensure a constitutional, peaceful and consensual transition that respects democratic order," Lamamra told AFP.

Army officers seized power in Guinea on Tuesday hours after the death of president Lansana Conte, suspending the west African nation’s constitution and summoning ministers to a military base.

Conte, who ruled the impoverished but mineral-rich country with an iron fist for 24 years after also taking power in a coup, died late Monday after "a long illness" aged 74, state television announced.


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