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Guinean political prisoners freed, regional bloc to discuss coup

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CONAKRY, Sept 8 (Reuters) – Guinea’s military leaders have freed scores of political prisoners before a meeting of West African leaders to discuss their response to Sunday’s coup that ousted President Alpha Conde.

At least 80 political prisoners detained by Conde were released on Tuesday evening. Some had campaigned against his attempt to stay in power for a third term after altering the constitution to permit it, a move opponents said was illegal.

West African countries have threatened sanctions following Conde’s overthrow and a regional bloc, the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS), was due to convene a virtual summit on Wednesday.

Coup leader Mamady Doumbouya, a former French legionnaire, has pledged to install a unified, transitional government but has not said when or how that will happen.

Doumbouya also met the heads of Guinea’s various military branches for the first time on Tuesday, hoping to unify the country’s armed forces under the junta’s command.

Guinea’s main opposition leader, Cellou Dalein Diallo, who finished runner-up to Conde in three successive elections, told Reuters on Tuesday he would be open to participating in a transition back to constitutional governance.

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