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Guinea coup leader names civilian prime minister

 RESEND Graphic first moved Dec. 23; graphic provides background on Guinea; 1 c x 2 3/4 in; 46.5 mm x 69.85 mm; 2 c x 3 in; 96.3 mm x 76.2 mm
  Guinea coup leader Moussa Camara reads a statement in this image made from Guinea TV broadcast, Wednesday, Dec. 24, 2008. A military-led group sent ...

GUINEA COUP

RESEND Graphic first moved Dec. 23; graphic provides background on Guinea; 1 c x 2 3/4 in; 46.5 mm x 69.85 mm; 2 c x 3 in; 96.3 mm x 76.2 mm

CORRECTION APTOPIX Guinea Coup

Guinea coup leader Moussa Camara reads a statement in this image made from Guinea TV broadcast, Wednesday, Dec. 24, 2008. A military-led group sent ...

The leaders of Guinea's coup named a civilian as prime minister Tuesday, making good on a key promise to the population exactly a week after seizing power upon the death of the country's late dictator.
The man designated prime minister, Kabine Komara, is a Guinean based in Cairo where he is a director of the African Export-Import Bank, a 14-year-old institution that promotes trade between African states.
Guineans had already heard his name two years ago after the country's powerful unions led weeks of demonstrations demanding the resignation of the ailing President Lansana Conte. They reached a compromise when he agreed to name a prime minister of their choice. Komara was one of three names they proposed. While Conte did not choose Komara, his name on the list indicates his standing with the country's powerful unions, who represent the country's main opposition voice.
The naming of a civilian suggests the military junta is serious about following through on its commitments, which include holding elections and cracking down on corruption.
The African Union froze Guinea's membership in the continentwide bloc on Monday, threatening further sanctions if the junta does not restore constitutional order. "We will not accept that the coup d'etat sticks in Guinea," said AU chairman Patrick Sinyinza.
But the 15-member Economic Community of West African States, a regional group, has said the coup leaders should be given a chance.
Coup leader Capt. Moussa Camara has invited international delegations to a meeting Tuesday in the capital to hear his views.
Among those reportedly eager to engage with him is Libya's Moammar Gadhafi, who starts a four-day state visit to Guinea's neighbor, Sierra Leone, on Tuesday.
Over the past two days, troops loyal to the coup leader have led raids to reclaim government property allegedly stolen by Conte's inner clique.
On Monday, dozens of soldiers forced their way into the compound of Mamadou Sylla, a close confident of the late dictator and a man who was untouchable in the previous regime.
The heavily armed men burst through the gate, demanding that he hand over the keys to SUVs allegedly stolen from the government. It was the second instance of vigilante justice meted out by the military junta against members of the old regime.
The young and charismatic coup leader has won overwhelming public approval. His popularity is rooted in the promise that he will hold democratic elections and publicly punish those who stole from the state. For the past 24 years, Guinea's treasury has been repeatedly pillaged by officials loyal to Conte.
But the junta has shown signs of moving toward tougher tactics against former regime members and supporters, such as the armed raids on Sylla's compound, and on the home of one of Conte's powerful generals on Sunday.
"Why would you want to break down the door when the door is wide open?" Sylla said in an interview with The Associated Press. He said the heavily armed soldiers frightened his aides.
Sylla handed over the keys to the six new SUV vehicles. He said his company, Futurelec S.A., had been contracted to provide the military with over 150 cars. He did not explain why the cars had not been delivered, but said the coup leaders should have called him rather than raid his compound.
Sylla was among Conte's closest friends and was feared even by ministers. He was believed to have been able to remove a member of government simply by voicing his disapproval to the head of state. The building the soldiers raided on Monday was said to be the only civilian residence that the reclusive Conte visited in the last years of his rule.
Sylla has been repeatedly accused of corruption, and in late 2006 he was jailed along with an official of the Central Bank on charges of stealing $3 million by inflating the price of cars supplied to government officials and pocketing the difference. Conte personally went to the jail to free the men, setting off the deadly demonstrations two years ago that nearly brought Conte down and led him to name a prime minister from the list drawn up by the unions.
Guinea has long been called a "geological scandal" because of its abundance of gold, diamonds, iron, timber and half the world's reserves of bauxite, the raw material used to make aluminum. But as its ruling clique stole from the state coffer, Guinea's people fell deeper and deeper into poverty.
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Associated Press writers Abou Bakr and Maseco Conde contributed to this report from Conakry, Guinea.


Updated : 2020-12-02 00:03 GMT+08:00