West Africa: Apparently attempted coup in Guinea-Bissau

Status: 02/01/2022 10:39 p.m

There has apparently been another coup attempt in West Africa, this time in Guinea-Bissau. According to President Embaló, however, the situation is calm again and some attackers have been arrested.

There has apparently been an attempted coup in the West African country of Guinea-Bissau. Eyewitnesses reported shots fired at the government palace in the capital, Bissau. President Umaro Sissoco Embaló said in a video posted on his Facebook page that many security forces had been killed in a “failed attack on democracy”. Some attackers were arrested. There were initially no other statements from the government about the attack and the further development of events.

Government palace probably damaged

According to the President, the country is under government control. Peace reigns in the capital Bissau. The state broadcaster had previously reported that the government palace in Bissau had been damaged and “intruders” held government officials. It was suspected that President Embaló was in the building at the time of the attack.

The former army general was declared the winner of the runoff election for the presidency at the end of 2019, but the result was contested by his opponent Domingos Simões Pereira. Embaló, with the support of the military, began to form a new government, although the Supreme Court had not yet ruled on the appeal against the election results.

UN Secretary-General Guterres ‘deeply concerned’

The West African Economic Community ECOWAS spoke of an attempted coup and said it was following the situation “with great concern”. The 15-member organization tweeted that it held the military responsible for the physical integrity of President Embaló and his government officials.

UN Secretary-General António Guterres had also expressed “deeply concerned about the news of heavy fighting” and called for the country’s democratic institutions to be respected in addition to an immediate end. The soldiers would have to go back to their barracks, coups are “completely unacceptable”.

Since gaining independence from Portugal in 1974, Guinea-Bissau has had four coups and more than a dozen attempted coups. The biggest problems in the country with around 1.5 million inhabitants include corruption and drug trafficking.

Already three coups in West Africa

Since August 2020 there have already been three other coups in West Africa: in Mali, Guinea and Burkina Faso. The military seized power there. The foreign ministry of the former colonial power Portugal tweeted that the attack on the government palace was strongly condemned. The constitutional order must be respected by all.

An African Union summit meeting begins in Addis Ababa on Wednesday, where the heads of state and government are also likely to be looking for answers to the numerous recent coups and coup attempts in Africa.


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