Guinea army chief promises smooth running of elections

Image caption,
Gen Sekouba Konate has established an election task force

Guinea's army chief has promised the military will ensure that the 27 June elections proceed smoothly.

Colonel Nouhou Thiam, who heads a military task force set up to oversee the polls, said the army would "defend the territory of Guinea."

He also promised the army would remain neutral during the elections.

A junta has ruled Guinea since the death of long-time leader Lansana Conte in December 2008, and the polls will return the country to civilian rule.

Col Thiam said during a meeting with leaders of Guinea's political parties that politicians should educate their supporters so that they behave in a civilised way.

"Campaigning does not mean breaking the other man's car, campaigning does not mean destroying the opponent's shop, campaigning does not mean throwing stones at each other or uttering foul language," he said.

The political leaders, in turn, promised to abide by the rules.

Col Thiam was speaking 24 hours after being named head of a 16,000-strong joint military and paramilitary task force for the elections by interim junta leader General Sekouba Konate.

Gen Konate took over in December 2009 from Captain Moussa Dadis Camara, who was seriously injured in an assassination attempt.

Capt Camara is currently in voluntary exile in Burkina Faso.

Guinea is a country rich in mineral wealth, although its people are among the poorest in the world.

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