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Monday, November 24, 2008

Six Guinea-Bissau Soldeirs Fail to Assissinate their President

President Joao Bernardo Vieira narrowly escaped by hiding in a room in his heavily fortified residence while security forces fought back, only managing to turn back the soldiers after a three-hour gunbattle....

(where was Batista Tagme Na Wai? He has now arresed a Navy Sergeant in an attempted to again implicate


....On Monday, the president of the tiny West African country returned to work, meeting with diplomats and overseeing the creation of a commission that will investigate the attempted coup, an Interior Ministry spokesman said.

Col. Armando Nhaga confirmed that the arrested six soldiers were being questioned. Three others fled after the battle.

He said that among those still at large is Ntcham Yala, a navy sergeant who is believed to be close to the ousted head of the navy, Rear Adm. Bubo Na Tchuto.

Na Tchuto was placed under house arrest in August after being accused of attempting to orchestrate a coup. But he escaped six days later, fleeing by sea to neighboring Gambia, where he was briefly arrested and then released, Nhaga said.

Na Tchuto could not be located for comment Monday but he has previously denied involvement in the prior foiled coup.

  • The U.N. says Guinea-Bissau is a key transit point for cocaine smuggled from Latin America to Europe.
  • The government estimates that as much as 1,750 pounds of cocaine transits the country's borders each week, most of it flown in small planes from South America.
    U.N. drug officials believe the traffickers drop off the drugs on the uninhabited islands that dot the country's coastline.
  • It's a territory that until August was under the control of Na Tchuto's navy.
    Sunday's attack came days after the government announced the provisional results of last week's parliamentary elections, which saw the party of former President Kumba Yala lose a fifth of its delegates.
  • Yala rejected the results even though international observers deemed them legitimate.
    Since winning independence from Portugal in 1973, Guinea-Bissau has suffered multiple coups and a civil war.
  • Vieira himself came to power in a 1980 coup, while Kumba Yala was deposed in one in 2003.

The Rest @ Africa AP

Posted to the web 23 November 2008

Soldiers attacked the residence of President João Bernardo Vieira of Guinea-Bissau in the early hours of Sunday in what appeared to be post-election instability, news agencies report.

  • Reuters reported that Shola Omoregie, the United Nations Secretary-General's representative in Guinea-Bissau, said the president and his family had survived the attack but that "the situation is very serious."
  • The agency quoted military chief General Batista Tagme Na Wai as saying five attackers had been arrested, "and the situation is under control.
  • The Associated Press reported the interior minister, Cipriano Cassama, as saying one member of the presidential guard had been killed and several injured.
  • The BBC's West Africa correspondent described the assault as an apparent attempt at a coup.
  • Election officials announced on Friday that the former ruling party, PAIGC (the African Party for the Independence of Guinea and Cape Verde, founded by Amílcar Cabral), had won parliamentary elections held on November 16.
  • The recent breakdown of a stability pact had caused concern that the country was too unstable to hold elections.

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