A power vacuum in Guinea has apparently sparked an attempted coup, but the prime minister insists he is still in office.
The government has not been dissolved, Prime Minister Ahmed Tidiane Souare told his nation by radio, just hours after the reported death of President Lansana Conté.
At the same time a group of army officers calling themselves the National Council for Democracy and Development have announced they are now in control and have suspended the constitution and the government.
Shots were fired near the coup plotters’ base in Conakry.
President Conte survived a number of military coups while he was alive and there were always fears as to what would happen after his death.
Heavily armed groups of soldiers are said to be patrolling the streets of the dilapidated seaside town, guarding key locations.
The reclusive late president ruled Guinea with an iron fist for nearly 25 years. He himself took power in a coup.
The present coup plotters apparently ordered government ministers to report to them ‘for their own protection’.
The country is the world’s number one exporter of the aluminium ore bauxite.