Guinea-Bissau accuses Portugal of 'coup bid'

PHOTO | STR Guinea Bissau soldiers walk on October 21, 2012 in a street of Bissau after gunmen raided a Guinea-Bissau army barracks in the capital, sparking a firefight that left at least seven people dead in the latest unrest to blight the chronically unstable country.

What you need to know:

  • Witnesses said the raid had been led by Captain Pansau N'Tchama, the head of a commando unit which assassinated president Joao Bernardo Vieira in 2009
  • It was not immediately clear why N'Tchama might have carried out the assault. But the captain is a former associate of the political leaders overthrown in an April 12 coup
  • Since independence from Portugal in 1974, the army and state in the chronically unstable nation of 1.6 million people have remained in constant conflict. No president has ever completed a full term in office

BISSAU

Guinea-Bissau's government on Sunday accused Portugal, the Community of Portuguese Language Countries and a former prime minister of backing a coup bid after a deadly gun battle near the capital.

"The government considers Portugal, the CPLP and Carlos Gomes Junior as the instigators of this attempt at destabilisation," said a statement read out by Communications Minister Fernando Vaz.

Its aim had been to overthrow the transitional government, undermine the political process, bring Gomes Junior back to power and justify an international "stabilisation" force, the statement added.

The statement came after gunmen staged a pre-dawn raid on the barracks of an elite army unit near the capital's airport, sparking a firefight that claimed at least seven lives.

Witnesses said the raid had been led by Captain Pansau N'Tchama, the head of a commando unit which assassinated president Joao Bernardo Vieira in 2009.

It was not immediately clear why N'Tchama might have carried out the assault. But the captain is a former associate of the political leaders overthrown in an April 12 coup.

That coup toppled the government of Gomes Junior, interrupting a presidential election between the first and second rounds, which he was leading after the first round.

Army chief-of-staff General Antonio Indjai led the coup.

His junta subsequently handed over power to a transitional government led by interim president Manuel Serifo Nhamadjo in a deal that called for new elections in 2013.

But the ousted African Party for the Independence of Guinea and Cape Verde (PAIGC), which is excluded from the interim government, refused to recognise the new administration.

Since independence from Portugal in 1974, the army and state in the chronically unstable nation of 1.6 million people have remained in constant conflict. No president has ever completed a full term in office.

Welcome!

You're all set to enjoy unlimited Prime content.