Conakry - Guinean President Lansana Conte has appointed a female diplomat as foreign minister and sacked the justice and security ministers, in the middle of a trial for sedition of leading opposition leader, Alpha Conde.

The cabinet reshuffle, in which five senior ministers were dismissed, was announced by state radio late on Wednesday. There was no explanation for the changes.

All of the ministers who have lost their jobs are long-standing political allies of Conte, at his side since the introduction of multiparty politics in 1992.

Mahawa Bangoura, formerly Guinea's permanent representative at the United Nations, becomes the west African country's first female foreign affairs minister, replacing Zainoul Abidine Sannoussi.

Ahmadou Camara, who was police chief until Wednesday, becomes security and interior minister, replacing Sekou Koureissy Conde.

Bangoura and Camara are designated secretaries of state, giving them senior status within the cabinet after Prime Minister Lamine Sidime.

Justice Minister Maurice Zogbelemou Togbe was replaced by Abu Camara, president of the legal tribunal in the northern town of Labe.

Alpha Conde was a candidate in the December 1998 presidential election won by Conte. Conde was arrested during the election, ostensibly for trying to cross into Ivory Coast while the border was closed.

He is on trial on a variety of charges related to an alleged attempt to overthrow Conte by force.

Health Minister Kandioura Daramy lost his job to Mamadou Saliou Diallo, a doctor and a mayor in the Ratoma district of the capital, Conakry.

Thierno Mamadou Cellou Diallo was dismissed from the ministry of planning and international co-operation, which was dissolved with many of its functions transferring to the foreign ministry. - Reuters