Shots fired as Guinea-Bissau faces possible coup

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By Jacob Kubeka –

Shots were heard near a presidential palace in Guinea Bissau in what could be the latest threat on President Umaro Sissoco Embaló’s government as well as nascent stability in a country once troubled with illegal take-over of power.

Initial reports said gunshots rent the air as the President hosted a meeting of the Council of Ministers in the presidential palace in Bissau.

According to DW Radio, citing sources from the Presidency the head of state, President Embaló and the Prime Minister Nuno Gomes Nabiam were on Tuesday afternoon inside the building, but surrounded by government army personnel.

The President, who is only two years in power, has been one of the vocal critics of coups and other illegal takeover of power in the now troubled West African region.

On Tuesday, a section of the army forces had reportedly barred the Council of Ministers from leaving the palace, creating a standoff and gunshots.

In October, Guinea Bissau had said it foiled an attempted coup. But the country has had a series of coups in the past, which had caused it to be suspended from the regional bloc Ecowas.

After he won elections in 2019, the new President has criticised coups even though the threat from within his army never decimated. A senior army general was even sanctioned in the US for dealing with drugs, a signal that the desire to control channels of power was also being fueled by drug trafficking.

More than two-thirds of the population lives below the poverty line, according to the World Bank making it one of the poorest and most unstable countries in Africa.

Guinea Bissau is a West African country with a population of less than two million people.

It is one of the world’s poorest states and has a history of coups and has become a major transit route for smuggling cocaine to Europe.

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