An attempted coup in the West African republic of Guinea Bissau has failed. The authorities are clearing up after armed soldiers attacked the presidential palace with machine guns and rocket propelled grenades.
They struck under cover of darkness, killing one guard and wounding another, but President Joao Bernardo Viera and his family escaped unhurt.
Cipriano Cassama, interior Minister: “We had found out about the coup plans in advance so we were prepared,” said Interior Minister Cipriano Cassama. “If we had not taken certain measures our President would not be alive today.”
Guinea Bissau is a former Portuguese colony. It has been plagued by a series of violent coups, uprisings and army mutinies. This weekend’s abortive uprising comes a week after parliamentary elections which passed off peacefully. The party allied to President Viera won the ballot.
The country was devastated by civil war ten years ago. In recent years it has gained international notoriety as a transit point for South American cocaine heading for Europe.