CONAKRY (AFP) - Coup leaders tightened their grip on Guinea on Wednesday, declaring a nationwide curfew and ruling out elections for the next two years as hundreds of their troops paraded through the capital's streets. International condemnation grew with the African Union warning of "stern measures" if the military ignored calls to allow a democratic transition of power following the death of long-time dictator Lansana Conte. Conte had ruled with an iron fist since 1984 and within hours of his passing late on Monday, a group of soldiers took control of the airwaves and claimed to have seized power in the impoverished but mineral-rich west African state. The putschists issued a statement on Wednesday declaring that Captain Moussa Dadis Camara, a mid-ranking officer who had previously been head of the military's fuel supplies unit, was their leader. In an apparent show of force, several hundred pro-coup soldiers left the main military base near the international airport to parade through the streets of the capital Conakry, an AFP correspondent said. They stopped at another military base, Camp Kundara, which houses the presidential guard, then headed for the state broadcasting headquarters, some crying: "Long live the new leader." A pair of helicopters flew overhead as the troops entered central Conakry where the presidential palace is located. A number of them raised their arms in victory as citizens watched the events from their doorsteps. A few civilians cheered but most offered little reaction. Camara plans to lead a 32-member interim administration, made up of 26 military officers and six civilians, and has promised to hold new elections in December 2010. "The National Council for Democracy and Development informs the population that a curfew will be installed throughout the territory from 8:00 pm to 6:00 am from today (Wednesday), December 24," said a statement read on the radio. Prime Minister Ahmed Tidiane Souare has maintained his government is still in charge and the UN's special envoy to West Africa said Wednesday it was too early to gauge who was in control of the country. "No camp has so far been able to ascertain its position," Said Djinnit told an emergency meeting of the African Union's Peace and Security Council in the Ethiopian capital. "On the one hand, you've got a group of 32 people who wants power and pretends the situation is under their control. On the other hand, the government and the army chief staff are still there and claim they are in power." The African Union, the European Union, the United States, and the United Nations have all condemned the coup and appealed for a democratic transition of power, but all are waiting anxiously to see how it will play out. The AU's Peace and Security Commissioner, Ramtane Lamamra, warned of "stern measures if the coup d'etat is materialised". The putschists claimed to be acting to preserve Guinea's territorial integrity and alleged that troops loyal to the Conte regime had been seeking intervention from foreign mercenaries from neighbouring countries. "People of Guinea, the seizure of power by your army is a civic act which responds to the wish to save a people in distress. Proud of having accomplished this task, (the junta) has no wish to cling on to power," a statement said. Leader since 1984 when he ousted Guinea's first president Ahmed Sekou Toure, Conte was a chain smoker who suffered from chronic diabetes and was at one time diagnosed with leukaemia. He had relied on the army along with his clan to bolster his authority, but in recent years social tension and criticism of Conte's regime had become increasingly open. Conte's state funeral will be held in his home village on Friday, a family source said. Guinea, a small nation of about 10 million people is the world's leading exporter of bauxite, an ore from which aluminium is produced.