Army officers led by Captain Moussa Dadis Camara seized power in the world’s biggest bauxite exporter in a bloodless coup last December, but their authority has been challenged by some soldiers and they are battling to maintain stability.
Colonel Oumar Sanoh, the head of the armed forces, said the dismissed soldiers had protested over pay. State television showed images of the young men, some dressed in shorts and T-shirts, sat on the ground being addressed by Sanoh.
“You ask for money and you forget all the sacrifices that have been made for you up to now. You don’t go into the army to make money,” Sanoh said.
Camara said in May he would reform the armed forces, which he described as “abandoned”, and called for financial assistance from donors to do so. He blamed neglected, discontented soldiers for a thwarted attempt in April to overthrow him.
International bodies have condemned Camara’s military takeover, which filled the power vacuum left when veteran President Lansana Conte died.
But diplomats have said they will support him on condition he sticks to his timetable to hold elections in December, and to his pledge not to stand in the vote.
Sanoh brought that commitment into question last week when he urged Camara’s National Council for Democracy (CNDD) junta to delay the presidential and parliamentary polls, saying the country was not ready to organise them this year.
Military sources said 35 soldiers had been dismissed from the
“There was gunfire in protest at the military camps of