29 October 2012

Guinea Bissau: Army Officer Arrested After Coup Attempt

Photo: Radio Netherlands Worldwide
Soldiers on patrol in the capital Bissau. (file photo)

An army officer was arrested over the weekend by military authorities in Guinea Bissau on suspicion of staging a coup to remove the country's new caretaker government, news agencies are reporting. Captain Pansao N'Tchama was reportedly detained on Saturday on an island close to the West African country. According to the BBC, he is accused of carrying out last week's attack on an army barracks which left six people dead and several others wounded.

The transitional government, which was installed by the military following a another coup in April, has accused the former Prime Minister Carlos Gomes Junior and Portugal - the country's former colonial power - of being the masterminds behind the latest attempt. The Portugese-speaking nation has a history of political instability since gaining independence, and no elected president has successfully served a full five-year term.

April's military coup derailed a presidential election which was triggered by President Malam Bacai Sanhá's death in January. Former Prime Minister Gomes Junior, who was a leading candidate then, was arrested and later forced to leave the country under a deal brokered by the West African regional bloc ECOWAS.

Security sources told AFP that the weekend's arrest of Capt N'Tchama followed his return from Portugal where he has been undergoing military training since 2009.

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