Guinea junta names general, others from ousted administration as ministers – Metro US

Guinea junta names general, others from ousted administration as ministers

Guinea swears in a coup leader as interim president
Guinea swears in a coup leader as interim president

CONAKRY (Reuters) – Coup leaders in Guinea have named their first line-up of government ministers, including a former general and three other figures who held posts under ousted president Alpha Conde.

The putchists have repeatedly tried to reassure investors, donors and regional powers, saying last month’s overthrow of Conde was a one-off action to get rid of what it called a corrupt elite, and that it has no plans to stay in office.

Former army officer Aboubacar Sidiki Camara, a close associate of coup leader and interim president Mamadi Doumbouya, was named transitional minister of defence, a junta spokesperson said on state TV late on Thursday.

Camara is best known for having been a key member of the junta that seized control of Guinea from 2008-2010 after the death of then-President Lansana Conté.

That junta drew international condemnation after government troops killed more than 150 pro-democracy demonstrators at a stadium in 2009. A United Nations-led investigation called the massacre a crime against humanity, but no one was ever charged.

Camara, known by his nickname “Idi Amin” after the infamous Ugandan despot, later served as chief of staff in Conde’s defence ministry and, after that, as an ambassador to Cuba.

Bachir Diallo, a former defence attaché based in Algeria, was named security minister, and Louhopou Lamah, a former foreign trade director, was named environment minister.

Abdourahmane Sikhé Camara was named Secretary General of the Government. He had previously served as an adviser to the position.

A special forces unit overthrew Conde on Sept. 5 in a move widely condemned by the African Union and by the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS), which imposed sanctions.

It was the fourth coup in West and Central Africa since last year, following two in Mali and one in Chad. Conde had angered his opponents by changing the constitution to allow himself to stand for a third term.

Doumbouya was named interim president on Oct. 1 and appointed a civilian prime minister a week later. He has promised to hold free and fair elections, without giving a date, and has barred junta members from standing in any future vote.

Doumbouya was expected to place his security-sector allies in key defence positions, said Eric Humphery-Smith, an analyst at the British-based risk consultancy Verisk Maplecroft. But the other appointments, he said, are more about “stalling for time.”

“The junta is toeing a fine line to keep political and business stakeholders happy,” he said. “The latest string of nominations means we will likely have to wait a while longer before we get names for the most coveted roles, such as the mines minister.”

(Reporting by Saliou Samb; Additional reporting and writing by Cooper Inveen; Editing by Andrew Heavens and Angus MacSwan)

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