The international community must pressure Guinea’s military rulers to restore civilian rule quickly before authoritarian measures erode popular support for anti-corruption moves, a conflict think-tank said on Thursday.

International Crisis Group warned that Guinea still risked a counter-coup, more than two months after military officers seized power in the world’s biggest bauxite exporter when veteran President Lansana Conte died in late December.

The National Council for Democracy and Development (CNDD) junta has announced a crackdown on corruption, arresting Conte family members accused of aiding drug-traffickers, but uncertainty hangs over the holding of promised polls.

“Concerted national and international pressure is urgently needed to produce a return to civilian rule, even before elections if the junta begins to stall on preparations for a vote,” Crisis Group said in a briefing published on Thursday.

The think-tank said the international community, civil society and political parties should reject the CNDD staying in power if polls are not held before the end of 2009, as promised.

After 24 years in power, Conte died on December 23, leaving the country mired in poverty, corruption and in-fighting despite several previous attempts at political dialogue.

Large crowds cheered Capt. Moussa Dadis Camara when he took power and the coup received some regional support. But it was condemned internationally, with the United States cutting aid and the African Union suspending the country’s membership.



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