‘Attempted coup’ in Guinea-Bissau
Regional bloc condemns “coup attempt” after soldiers take control of capital’s central district and key buildings.
The regional bloc of West African states has condemned what it called an attempted coup in Guinea-Bissau amid reports of soldiers seizing control of a central area of the country’s capital.
Witnesses and diplomats in Bissau described explosions and heavy arms fires in Bissau late on Thursday night, with the home of Carlos Gomes Junior, the outgoing prime minister and presidential hopeful in runoff elections scheduled for later this month, coming under attack.
“It was attacked with rocket-propelled grenades and we were forced to retreat,” said a police officer who had guarded Gomes’ residence.
A diplomat, speaking on condition of anonymity, told the Associated Press news agency that the whereabouts of Gomes and Raimundo Pereira, the country’s interim president, were unknown.
An AFP correspondent reported that the military had also taken control of the ruling party headquarters and national radio station, with rocket fire and shots also being heard.
“We have received some difficult information from Guinea-Bissau, and this information indicates to us that there is a coup underway,” Daniel Kablan Duncan, Ivory Coast’s foreign minister, told reporters after a meeting of the 15-nation Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) in the Ivorian capital Abidjan.
“ECOWAS formally and rigorously condemns such an attempted coup d’etat,” he added.