Guinea junta won't let president leave

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Guinea's military junta says it will not bow to regional pressure and allow President Alpha Conde, detained since his overthrow on September 5, to leave the country.

Ivory Coast's President Alassane Ouattara and Ghana's President Nana Akufo-Addo paid a visit to Conakry on Friday to ask coup leader Mamady Doumbouya, a special forces commander and former French Legionnaire, for Conde's release.

Outtara had been hoping to leave Guinea with Conde, a senior regional government official told Reuters.

"The former president is and remains in Guinea. We will not yield to any pressure," the junta said in a statement read on state TV.

Ouattara and Akufo-Addo, representing the 15-member Economic Community of West African States, held a separate meeting with Conde at the Mohamed VI Palace in Conakry, but flew out the country on Friday evening empty-handed.

Ouattara told Radio-Television Guineenne (RTG) at Conakry airport before leaving: "I met my brother Alpha Conde, who is doing well. We will remain in contact."

Akufo-Addo told RTG: "We've had a very frank and fraternal meeting with Doumbouya and his collaborators. I think that ECOWAS and Guinea are going to find the best way to move forward together."

ECOWAS has demanded a return to constitutional rule since the special forces unit seized control of the presidential palace, detained Conde and declared itself in charge.

The bloc agreed on Thursday to freeze financial assets of the junta and their relatives and bar them from travelling.

Events in Guinea followed coups in Mali and Chad earlier this year that have raised fears of a democratic backslide in a region only just shedding its "coup-belt" reputation.

Guinea's coup leaders have held consultations with public figures and business leaders to map out a framework for a transitional government.

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