As the West African country of Guinea buried its veteran former leader, the military junta that took power made an international appeal for support. Leaders of the bloodless coup say the late Lansana Conte was an apostle of peace, and they promised elections within two years. There seemed to be popular support for the military takeover. Many of the thousands who turned out for the funeral hailed their new leaders. Conte had ruled Guinea with an iron fist since seizing power in 1984.
The first international backing for the junta came from Senegal whose president, Abdoulaye Wade had spoken to the coup leader on the phone. The Senegalese leader relayed his words: “We want elections, and a new president,” he said, “and we want to go back to our barracks.” Wade called on the EU, and France in particular, to give support because he said Guinea’s new leadership deserves it. The African Union, America and the EU have all condemned the coup. The United States has called for civilian rule to be established immediately.