lunedì, marzo 02, 2009


I saw Bissau rocket attack'

A young supporter of President Vieira at an election rally in November
President Vieira won elections in 2005
Braima Camara is a reporter for a privately-owned radio station in Guinea-Bissau, Radio Pindiquiti.

He described to the BBC the scenes in the capital on the morning that President Joao Bernardo Vieira was killed.

Everyone is keeping indoors. The people are afraid.

Children are not at school. The shops are closing.

The military are patrolling the streets.

Everyone is waiting for news from the local radio stations.

The problem is they are not broadcasting - the military will not allow it - so nobody knows what is happening, or whether it is safe to go outside.

The government has not said who is behind this killing.

The ministers are in a meeting. We are waiting for a statement.

Some people are angry. But some are also happy.

Remember - more than 70% of people in Guinea-Bissau did not want Vieira to be president.

I cannot see much sadness in their eyes.

This is normal here. We have seen our leaders killed before.

This is a very different society.

Under mango tree

I am at the president's private house. I have been here since early this morning.

I was woken by a colleague calling me at around 5am. He said there was something going on, so I rushed here to the house, which is about 600m from the presidential palace.

File pic of Guinea-Bissau President Joao Bernardo Vieira
1939: Born
Electrician by trade
Key figure in struggle against Portuguese colonial rule
1980: Came to power in coup, as head of armed forces
1994: Won country's first multi-party elections
1999: Overthrown after sacking army chief
2005: Returned from asylum to win presidential election

Obituary: President Vieira
When I arrived, people were running around everywhere.

I watched from a position very close to the house, under a mango tree.

I saw a rocket being fired.

The house was largely destroyed, and the soldiers entered the building.

Later, I saw the car come and take the president's body away to the hospital.

They also took one of his bodyguards, who was killed in the assault.

I spoke to a military commander who led the operation.

He said that when the soldiers entered the building, the president was still alive.

They talked to the president. They asked him if he was responsible for the killing of army chief of staff General Batista Tagme Na Wai.

The president confirmed this. He told the soldiers that he could not work with the general.

After the confession, they shot him. That is what I was told.

His wife and children were taken to the UN representative.

The soldiers are not allowing anybody into the house. I hear they have looted the building.

The hospital will not let us in to see the body.

The ministers are meeting and we are all waiting for an announcement this evening.