By Enyichukwu Enemanna
Guinea-Bissau’s President, Umaro Sissoco Embaló says the forceful invasion of a police cell located near Bandim market, “with AK-47 weapons and bazookas” on Thursday night by members of the National Guard, was a coup attempt.
The development led to a heavy gunfire in the country’s capital on Friday while the President was far away UAE attending the the UN’s COP28 climate conference in Dubai.
Speaking on Saturday upon his return, the Guinea-Bissau leader vowed a “serious consequences” for those behind the act.
The soldiers had invaded the cell and freed the Finance Minister, Souleiman Seidi along with António Monteiro, the secretary of state for the treasury, who had been detained amid investigations into the alleged irregular withdrawal of $10m (£8m) of state funds.
Before their detention, they were on Thursday afternoon quized by an anti-corruption inquiry to clarify the payments to 11 companies, which were said to be owned by officials of government but the Minister defended the payments as legal.
According to a privately owned O Democrata news outlet report, the National Guards soldiers freed the officials and took them to an unknown location.
According to a military source, a man described as the leader of a group of soldiers has been arrested and detained.
On Friday morning, regional stabilisation forces deployed by the regional West African bloc ECOWAS were seen patrolling the streets, the AFP news agency reported.
In February last year, President Embaló said he survived a coup attempt after being under heavy gunfire for five hours, an incident in which 11 people died.
He said the attack was linked to drug trafficking in the country but did not provide further information.