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Escalating Gunfire Erupts in Guinea-Bissau Following Liberation of Two Ministers by National Guard


Escalating Gunfire Erupts in Guinea-Bissau Following Liberation of Two Ministers by National Guard

In a tumultuous turn of events, Guinea-Bissau’s National Guard soldiers reportedly liberated Minister of Economy and Finance Souleiman Seidi and Secretary of State for the Treasury Antonio Monteiro from police custody, where they were being questioned regarding the alleged withdrawal of ten million dollars from state coffers. The duo had been summoned by the judiciary earlier on Thursday, subjected to hours of interrogation by judicial police. Sources, speaking under the shroud of anonymity for security concerns, disclosed that Mr. Seidi had previously defended the legality of the withdrawal before the National Assembly, asserting its purpose to bolster the national private sector.

At approximately 10:00 pm on the same day, National Guard members clandestinely transported the officials to an undisclosed location before retreating to a barracks in the Santa Luzia district, triggering intense gunfire the following morning. Special forces intervened after failed mediation attempts, resulting in an exchange of fire that was eventually quelled, as reported by military and intelligence sources.

The Guinea-Bissau Stabilisation Support Force, deployed by the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS), patrolled Bissau’s streets on Friday morning in the aftermath of the incident. Notably, President Umaro Sissoco Embalo, in office since December 2019, was absent during these developments, attending the 28th United Nations Climate Conference in Dubai.

Guinea-Bissau, a small West African nation, has long grappled with political instability and experienced numerous coups since gaining independence in 1974. This recent episode coincides with a broader trend of coup attempts across West Africa, underscoring the region’s volatile political landscape. In response, President Embalo had earlier appointed generals to key security positions, aligning with a regional context marked by heightened political unrest in countries like Gabon, Niger, Mali, Burkina Faso, Guinea, and Sierra Leone in the recent week.


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