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Guinea coup chief says will not stand in vote
Thu Dec 25, 2008 8:54am EST
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By Saliou Samb
CONAKRY (Reuters) - The army captain installed as de facto head of state in Guinea in a military coup moved to cement his grip on power on Thursday, but said he would not stand for president in promised elections.
Capt. Moussa Dadis Camara was chosen on Wednesday as leader of Guinea, the world's biggest exporter of aluminum ore bauxite and a target for billions of dollars in mining investment, after the death of President Lansana Conte on Monday.
"I do not have the ambition of being a candidate at the presidential elections," Camara said in comments broadcast by Radio France International.
"I have never had the ambition of power."
The soldiers who mounted the coup, calling themselves the National Council for Democracy and Development (CNDD), appeared unopposed in their control of the capital Conakry three days after Conte's death from illness.
Government ministers reported to the Alpha Yaya Diallo military base in Conakry's suburbs, as instructed by the junta.
"Everyone (in government) has gone there. Government ministers met at the prime minister's house then went to the camp," a police source said.
The coup leaders said late on Wednesday that government members and army generals were to attend the base, and replaced Conte-appointed regional chiefs with military commanders.
Camara said his administration would attempt to fight the corruption he said had become endemic under Conte's rule.
"The government did not do what it had to," he told state television. "It did not deserve the confidence of the nation."
Many businesses were closed in Conakry on Thursday and soldiers patrolled the streets, though roadside vendors were working as normal, and people and cars moved freely.
"We have come out because we can't stay at home, and we hope the situation will stabilize," said Souleymane Bah, a car mechanic in the capital.
The United Nations, African Union, European Union and United States have condemned this most recent failure of democracy in Africa, which comes after a military coup in Mauritania in August, and post-election violence in Zimbabwe, Kenya and Nigeria.
International firms including Rio Tinto, Alcoa and United Company Rusal dig bauxite, the raw material for aluminum, in the former French colony. Continued...
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