11 died in Guinea-Bissau coup attempt
At least 11 people were killed when soldiers tried to overthrow Guinea-Bissau’s President Umaro Sissoco Embalo, the government has confirmed.
Embalo said Tuesday evening that many members of the
security forces had been killed during the shootings, which lasted five hours.
The dead included military and paramilitary forces and four
civilians, including a senior official from the Agriculture Ministry, the
Minister of Tourism and spokesman for the government, Fernado Vaz, told a news
briefing in the capital Bissau.
He also denounced what he described as a “violent and
barbaric” attack aimed at decapitating the state.
Vaz said the attempted coup was planned and perpetrated by
people with “ulterior motives" with the support of "people with
Heavy gunfire was heard near the presidential palace in
Bissau on Tuesday, leading to reports of a coup attempt in a country with a
history of military takeovers.
While it was not clear whether the attackers were members of
the security forces, reports indicated that Embalo and Prime Minister Nuno
Gomes Nabiam were holding a Cabinet meeting in the building at the time.
Embalo, who late Tuesday assured that the situation in
Guinea-Bissau was “under government control,” described the coup attempt as an
attack against democracy attributed to “the work of isolated elements” linked
to drug trafficking.
The chairman of the African Union Commission, Moussa Faki
Mahamat, and UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres both expressed grave concern
over the situation.
Media reports said Wednesday that spy chiefs had launched
investigations to help identify the attackers.
Soldiers patrolled streets, but businesses had resumed their
A commission of inquiry has also been set up.
Guinea-Bissau has had nine coups and attempted coups since
its independence from Portugal in 1974.
For more than four decades, no elected head of state had
finished a five-year term until Jose Mario Vaz saw out his full tenure in June
In 2009, then-President Joao Bernardo Vieira was assassinated
in what was said to be an apparent revenge attack by soldiers for the killing
of the country’s then-army chief, who was at odds with Vieira.