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December 23, 2008

Guinea President Lansana Conte dies after illness

Guinea's President Lansana Conte, a diabetic, chain-smoking general who ruled the West African bauxite exporter for nearly a quarter of a century, has died after an illness, the government said on Tuesday.

The military's commander Diarra Camara ordered troops to protect strategic locations and the borders of the former French colony, which in the last two years had seen often violent protests against the rule of the reclusive president.

Conte, who was believed to be 74, died at 1800 GMT on Monday in the capital Conakry, government leaders announced on state television in the early hours of Tuesday.
National Assembly President Aboubacar Sompare asked the country's Supreme Court to name him president in line with the constitution.

"I have the heavy and difficult task to inform you with great sadness of the death of General Lansana Conte, President of the Republic of Guinea, after a long illness," Sompare said in the television broadcast. Continue reading here

Born in Moussayah Loumbaya (Dubréka), a member of the Susu people, Conté was educated at a local Koranic school and attended Dubréka primary school. He then went on to study at military preparatory schools in Bingerville, Côte d'Ivoire and Saint Louis, Senegal. More info click here

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