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Guinea completes transition to civilian government

Guinea's President Alpha Conde has reshuffled his cabinet and removed its last military figures. But the country is still waiting for parliamentary elections to take place.

President Conde's office announced the surprise reshuffle on state television late on Friday, giving no reason for the shake-up.

Altogether 11 of his government ministers were dismissed, including three generals who were part of a December 2008 coup that led to a military junta ruling the country after the death of long-time dictator Lansana Conte.

Another major change was the nomination of former Prime Minister Francois Louceny Fall to the post of state minister for foreign affairs.

A statement from the presidential office said that "in forming a government that is entirely civilian President Conde sends a strong signal of the normalization of Guinea."

Elections delay

Conde's government has been trying to organize legislative elections, the key to unlocking millions of dollars in frozen aid. However, progress has been impeded by opposition concerns of bias within the electoral body.

Dozens of people were injured and at least one was killed in violent clashes between government and opposition supporters in the capital, Conakry, last month.

Following rule by the junta from 2008 to 2010, power was handed over to a transitional government before Guinea held its first democratic election in late 2010, won by Conde. The election was, however, marred by ethnic violence and opposition claims of fraud.

tj/kms (Reuters, AP)