Lansana Conte was born in Dubreka, Guinea on 30 November 1934 to a Sunni Muslim Susu family. Conte served in the French Army during the Algerian War, and he later became an officer in the army of an independent Guinea. In 1970, as a Lieutenant, he fought against the invading forces of Portugal when Portugal attacked Conakry during a hostage rescue mission, and he was promoted to captain a year later. In 1980, Conte was elected to the National Assembly, and he took part in the Democratic Party of Guinea's official pilgrimage to Mecca, Saudi Arabia. In 1984, following the death of dictator Ahmed Sekou Toure, Conte seized power in a military coup and released his political prisoners, denouncing his human rights abuses. In 1985, he crushed a coup launched by former prime minister Diarra Traore, who was executed for his role in the coup. Conte devalued the currency, reduced government spending, and encouraged foreign investments in Guinea, and he transitioned Guinea into multiparty rule in the 1990s. He won 51.7% of the vote in 1993 as the Unity and Progress Party candidate, and he won the fradulent 1998 and 2003 elections, winning the latter one with 95.6% of the vote. In 2005, he survived an assassination attempt, and he put down protests during the rest of the 2000s. Conte was president of Guinea until his death in Conakry, Guinea on 22 December 2008 at the age of 74.