In a meeting with President Alpha Conde’s ministers and senior government officials on Monday, the leaders of a military coup in Guinea promised to set up a transitional government of national unity after ousting the president and dissolving his cabinet.
The overthrow of Conde and other top politicians who were detained or barred from travelling, is the third since April in West and Central Africa.
“A consultation will be carried out to define the major framework of the transition, then a government of national unity will be put in place to lead the transition,” coup leader Mamady Doumbouya, a former French legionnaire officer, said at the meeting of Conde’s ministers and senior government officials.
“At the end of this transitional phase, we’ll set the tone for a new era for governance and economic development,” he said, flanked by armed soldiers in red berets.
Doumbouya did not say what the transition would entail or give a date for a return to democratic elections.
The army said “poverty and endemic corruption” was the reason for the coup.
Also, the seizure of power was buoyed by widespread dissatisfaction with Conde, 83, who promised stable democracy but once in power violently silenced opponents and last year decided to run for a third term in power – a move many said was illegal.
The new military leaders are now under pressure from the condemnation of international powers to offer a plan beyond the toppling of the old order, and to reassure investors that Guinea’s significant ore exports would not be cut.
Guinea holds the world’s largest bauxite reserves, an ore used to produce aluminium. Prices of the metal shot to a 10-year high on Monday, though there was no sign of supply disruptions.
“I can assure business and economic partners that activities will continue normally in the country. We are asking mining companies to continue their activities,” he said.
According to two diplomatic sources, Prime Minister Ibrahima Kassory Fofana, Presidential Affairs Minister Mohamed Diané and National Assembly Speaker Amadou Damaro Camara had been arrested.
Amnesty International, in a statement on Monday, called on the coup leaders to clarify the legal basis for Conde’s detention, and to free those Conde had arbitrarily detained in the months surrounding last year’s election.
The Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) will hold an extraordinary summit on Guinea on Thursday, according to a staff memo.