CONAKRY, GUINEA // The new military junta in Guinea today named banker Kabine Komara as prime minister and has also called for a meeting with representatives of foreign governments which condemned the coup. Mr Komara, whose nomination was announced in a statement read on national radio, is currently a senior director of the African Export-Import Bank based in Cairo. Labour unions which spearheaded large-scale protests against president Lansana Conta at the start of the year favoured Mr Komara as prime minister, but Mr Conte instead picked Lansana Kouyate for the job.
Military officers staged their coup hours after Mr Conte, who ruled with an iron fist for 24 years, died on Dec 22 2008. Capt Moussa Dadis Camara, the coup leader who now acts as president, has called for a meeting with representatives of the international community. Most foreign governments have condemned the coup and called for a democratic transition of power. The African Union yesterday suspended Guinea.
The coup leaders have promised to hold elections in Dec 2010, when Mr Conte's mandate would have expired. More than a third of the world's bauxite reserves are located in Guinea, making it the second-largest producer after Australia and the world's biggest exporter of the mineral. It also has large reserves of gold, diamonds, iron and nickel, while uranium deposits were found at various sites in 2007.
The US State Department supported the African Union's suspension of Guinea, saying: "The United States reiterates its call for an immediate return to civilian government and conducting free and fair elections as soon as possible." * AFP