Reports of Guinea-Bissau coup

2012-04-12 23:19

Bissau - A senior diplomat in Guinea-Bissau says the military has taken over the central district of the capital and there are reports of heavy arms fire including mortar shelling.

The diplomat who could not be named because he was not authorized to speak to the media said Thursday the whereabouts of the country's interim president and prime minister are unknown.

Guinea-Bissau has weathered successive coups and attempted coups since winning independence from Portugal in 1974. The country was due to hold a runoff election on April 29, pitting Prime Minister Carlos Gomes Jr against a former president, Kumba Yala.

Yala recently announced that he planned to boycott the vote. The emergency election is being held after the death of former leader Malam Bacai Sanha, who died in January after being rushed to Paris for treatment for end-stage diabetes.

Guinea-Bissau's military have taken control of the ruling party headquarters and national radio station as shots rang out in the streets of the capital, an AFP correspondent said.

Other soldiers occupied the avenue where the residence of outgoing Prime Minister Carlos Gomes Junior is located, and rocket-propelled grenades were fired and shots could be heard on the street.

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Read more on:    carlos gomes junior  |  guinea-bissau  |  west africa  |  coup
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