Gunfire in Guinea-Bissau Capital: Soldier Detained in Connection with Attempted Coup
In a shocking turn of events, gunfire was reported in the capital city of Guinea-Bissau, leading to the detention of a soldier believed to be the leader of a group of soldiers attempting to free a detained minister and senior state official. The incident occurred after the officials were taken by members of the National Guard, seeking refuge in barracks south of the city.
Negotiations to resolve the situation peacefully failed, prompting the intervention of special forces, which resulted in an exchange of gunfire. President Umaro Sissoco Embalo quickly addressed the nation, describing the incident as an “attempted coup” and vowing to hold all those involved accountable.
The detained officials, Finance Minister Souleiman Seidi and António Monteiro, the secretary of state for the treasury, were being investigated for an alleged irregular withdrawal of $10 million of state funds. Their detention stemmed from an ongoing anti-corruption inquiry focused on clarifying payments made to 11 companies.
Amid the allegations, the leader of the country’s main opposition party accused the owners of these companies of having close ties to leaders of the governing coalition. The situation escalated further when National Guard soldiers stormed the police cells where the officials were being held and subsequently relocated them to an undisclosed location.
To restore stability, regional stabilisation forces deployed by the West African bloc Ecowas were seen patrolling the streets of the capital. Guinea-Bissau has a tumultuous history of coups and attempted coups since gaining independence from Portugal in 1974. Notably, just last year, the president claimed to have survived a coup attempt linked to drug trafficking, although the official account of events has been met with skepticism.
As the situation unfolds, the people of Guinea-Bissau anxiously await further updates on the fate of their detained officials and the consequences for those involved. The international community also closely watches the nation, hoping for a swift and peaceful resolution to avoid further instability in the region.