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Guinea coup leaders demote all generals

Guinea coup leaders demote all generals

Coup leaders in Guinea issued a declaration on state radio Sunday saying all military generals of the former regime had been demoted, raising the specter of instability in the country.
The demotions included more than 20 military heads, including those who ran the country's army, navy and air force. The list also includes security force chiefs.
Coup spokesman Nouhou Thiam said the demotions were effective immediately and added that the military heads of the regime under longtime dictator Lansana Conte would be reassigned to other jobs in the army.
The move comes amid questions about whether coup leader Capt. Moussa Camara is able to control the plethora of military units created under Conte's 24-year rule. Camara's group seized public airwaves and declared a coup Tuesday just hours after Conte's death.
Camara's junta appears to be largely in control of Guinea, broadcasting on public airwaves, holding news conferences and meeting with foreign diplomats.
But experts note that Guinea's military units are heavily armed and headquartered in different parts of the country, separated by bad roads and unreliable cell phone service. Since Conte's death, the battalions are no longer under any central command and they could be centers for unrest, experts warn.
Another unknown is the status of the elite presidential guard. It was fiercely loyal to Conte and is accused of executing dozens of demonstrators during massive protests against the regime two years ago.
Earlier Sunday, soldiers loyal to Guinea's coup leader surrounded the residence of a high-ranking military officer who served under Conte and searched his house for weapons.
Inspector Mamady Toure, a member of the junta, said the coup leaders had received information that necessitated the search of Gen. Ibrahima Diallo's house Sunday. Asked if it involved a possible countercoup by regime loyalists, he said: "I will let you know as soon as I know."
Two pickup trucks filled with soldiers arrived outside the gated residence of the general's house, machine guns slung over their shoulders, and a group of them went inside the house. Claude Pivi, one of the top coup leaders, was with them. After emerging from the gated residence, he screamed out: "We are here to see what he is hiding."
Diallo _ whose name was on the list of demotions _ did not appear to be home at the time of the security sweep and could not immediately be reached for comment.
Camara was unknown to most Guineans before declaring a coup Tuesday, but appears to enjoy broad popular support. Several thousand people, including top union members and opposition figures, turned out to see Camara at his military barracks Saturday.
They gave him a standing ovation when he promised to let the people propose names for an interim prime minister and vowed to execute anyone who embezzles state funds. He reiterated that his aim is not to stay in power or to enrich himself, as Conte's inner circle had _ a promise met by cheers.
Sunday's demotion was bound to come as a surprise to the head of the armed forces under the old regime. He was dressed in full military regalia on Friday as he waited for Conte's funeral to begin on the grounds of the mansion he built with state funds.
"As far as I know, I am still the head of the army. No one has told me otherwise," Gen. Camara Diarra said, reclining in a leather couch. "Until I see a communique or a decree saying I am no longer the head of the army, I will continue to be in my post."
His name was the first on the list of demotions read out on state radio.
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Associated Press Writer Maseco Conde contributed to this report from Conakry, Guinea.


Updated : 2021-06-16 02:36 GMT+08:00