Page last updated at 16:22 GMT, Thursday, 26 February 2009

Conte's son in TV drug confession

File pic of Ousmane Conte
Ousmane Conte's father ruled Guinea for 24 years

The eldest son of the former President of Guinea, Lansana Conte, has confessed to drugs trafficking on state TV.

Ousmane Conte was arrested on Monday on drug trafficking charges by the junta that seized power hours after the death of his father in December.

The once powerful Guinean army officer told state TV: "I am in the drug business and I regret it."

But Mr Conte denied rumours that he is the godfather of the country's booming trade in cocaine destined for Europe.

"Everyone who knows me, knows I'm not a liar. It's true that I am mixed up in this drugs business, but I'm not the ringleader," he said, speaking in French.

'Not in a good state'

Mr Conte appeared unwell and was shown lying on a bed, hooked up to an intravenous drip. He said he was sick, although no details of his illness were given.

A doctor treating Mr Conte told state TV: "He is not in a good state."

On Monday, the former president's brother-in-law was also shown on state TV confessing he had received tens of thousands of dollars from a Colombian partner.

The army officers who seized power when President Conte died said they intended to punish the corruption associated with the illegal drugs trade.

The late president and his clan had ruled the mineral-rich west African country with an iron fist for 24 years.

Guinea, like other West African states, is known to be a transit point for smuggling cocaine from Latin America to markets in Europe.

The military rulers, widely criticised for their coup, are under pressure to restore civilian rule and have promised polls before 2010.

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