lunedì, marzo 02, 2009


The chief of staff of Guinea-Bissau's armed forces has been killed in an attack on the military's headquarters in the capital Bissau, reports say.

General Batista Tagme Na Wai reportedly died after a blast late on Sunday that destroyed part of the building.

At least five people were hurt in the attack, which one report described as a grenade strike and another as a bomb.

Guinea-Bissau, in western Africa, is one of the world's poorest states, and has a history of coups.

An aide to the general, Lt Col Bwam Nhamtchio, told the AFP news agency the chief of staff was in his office when the blast went off.

"He was gravely wounded and did not survive his injuries. This is a loss for all of us," Lt Col Nhamtchio said.

Following the attack on the military HQ, officers ordered two private radio stations in the city to cease broadcasting.

"For the security of the journalists, you must close the radio station and stop broadcasting. It's for your own safety," armed forces spokesman Samuel Fernandes told reporters at one station.

"We are going to pursue the attackers and avenge ourselves," he added.

Plagued by coups

It is not yet clear who was behind the attack but it once again highlights the country's fragility, the BBC's West Africa correspondent Will Ross says.

In November, President Joao Bernardo Vieira survived a gun attack on his home by mutinous soldiers in what appeared to have been a failed coup.

The president survived and was then given his own militia for protection.

In January, that militia was accused of trying to kill the head of the army and was then disbanded.

Guinea-Bissau has been plagued by coups and political unrest after it gained independence from Portugal in 1974.

President Vieira, just like the country's previous leaders, has relied on the army to stay in power, and personal rifts have made it a rocky relationship, our correspondent says.

Guinea-Bissau - a major transit point for South American cocaine headed for Europe - has also been destabilised by the effects of drug trafficking.

Some officials in the army are known to have become involved in the trade, our correspondent adds.

Fonte: BBC NEWS Africa