Guinea Bissau

Chief of Staff and 40 officers arrested in reports of a coup

Reuters

French Foreign Minister Bernard Kouchner on Thursday denounced as a coup d'etat the detention of Guinea Bissau's Prime Minister Carlos Gomes Junior by soldiers. Reports says Gomes is now at his home. The chief of staff and 40 officers have been arrested.

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Deputy Chief of Staff, General Antonio Indjai, has been named to "manage the situation" in the country, accodring to an army source. The soldiers want to put Gomes Junior to be put on trial as a criminal.

Earlier, hundreds of demonstrators gathered outside the government headquarters calling for the prime minister's release while national radio broadcasts were interrupted by military music.

Indjai threatened to kill Gomes Junior if the protests did not stop.

He was accompanied by Admiral Bubo Na Tchute, a former navy chief, who had recently returned to the country after spending a year exiled in Gambia. The unrest erupted as Tchute left a UN building where he had sought refuge for the past 94 days.

The former Portuguese colony has staggered from coup to coup since it gained independence in the 1970s.

A new crisis broke out in March 2009 when President Joao Bernardo Vieira was murdered by troops. The killing was allegedly in revenge for the murder hours earlier of armed forces chief, General Tagme Na Waie.

 

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