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Page last updated at 11:19 GMT, Thursday, 2 April 2009 12:19 UK

Guinea ex-ministers repay money

Capt Moussa Dadis Camara shakes hands with Prime Minister Ahmed Tidiane Souare, 25 December 2008 in Conakry, Guinea
Ahmed Tidiane Souare (r) submitted to the army leaders days after the coup

Guinea's military authorities have released three former ministers after they agreed to repay money they are accused of embezzling.

The three, who include former Prime Minister Ahmed Tidiane Souare, were arrested last week.

They have already repaid the first instalments of the money. However, another ex mines minister was "unco-operative" and remains in custody.

The army seized power last December after President Lansana Conte died.

Mr Souare was prime minister at the time of the president's death but three days later he publicly acknowledged coup leader Captain Moussa Dadis Camara as "Mr President".

The three were arrested after being publicly questioned about the whereabouts of money allotted to the mines ministry live on television by Capt Camara.

Drug arrests

Mr Souare has agreed to repay $2.5m (£1.7m).

A bauxite factory in Guinea
Guinea has reserves of bauxite, gold, diamonds, iron and nickel

Former Mines Ministers Ousmane Sylla has been asked to account for $2m (£1.3m), which he has agreed to repay.

Another former Mines Minister Lounceny Nabe has also been freed after agreeing to repay $1.2m (£0.8m).

However, the BBC's Amadou Diallo in the capital, Conkary, says former Mines Minister Ahmed Kante remains in custody.

Mining is the main source of state revenue in Guinea, which has more than a third of the world's reserves of of bauxite - used to make aluminium.

It also has large reserves of gold, diamonds, iron and nickel.

In January President Camara announced a review of the mining sector - saying contracts agreed under the last administration had not been in Guinea's interest.

The military junta has also arrested numerous former top officials over allegations of corruption and drugs trafficking since taking power.

The AFP news agency reports that more arrests were made on Wednesday over drugs charges.

Ousmane Conte, son of President Conte, was in February shown on national television, admitting to smuggling cocaine.

Other officials have been summoned to appear before a commission investigating corruption claims.

President Camara's National Council for Democracy and Development has promised to stand down and hold elections by 2010.

Guinea is to remain suspended from both the African Union and the West African regional bloc Ecowas until the polls are held.



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