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Portuguese military on alert after coup in Guinea-Bissau

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Portuguese military on alert after coup in Guinea-Bissau

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The Portuguese military was placed on high alert after an apparent coup in the tiny west African state of Guinea-Bissau, said Lisbon-based news agency Lusa on Friday.

The former Portuguese colony has suffered several military revolts since independence in 1974. The latest came just two weeks before a run-off election that was widely expected to see outgoing Prime Minister Carlos Gomes Jr win the presidency.

Gomes Jr and the interim country’s president Raimundo Pereira have been arrested.

The impoverished state, where the average wage is a little more than one euro per day, is a haven for cocaine traffickers from Latin America. Angola previously signed an agreement with Guinea-Bissau to send Angolan troops to train local soldiers.

A statement from the self-styled “Military Command” broadcast on state radio alleged that the PM had made a secret pact to allow Angolan troops to wipe out the Guinea-Bissau military.

There were reports that soldiers had ransacked the homes of several ministers and senior officials, many of whom are in hiding.

The Portuguese parliament denounced the coup and called for the immediate release of Gomes Junior amid reports Lisbon is preparing for possible military intervention.