BISSAU - Military officers in Guinea-Bissau tried to stage a coup last week as the West African nation faced a political crisis, the armed forces spokesman said on Friday.
Lieutenant-Colonel Arsenio Balde said Rear-Admiral Jose Americo Bubo Na Tchuto, the head of the Navy, was in custody and other officers were being questioned in connection with the "attempted coup". He said the situation was now under control.
"A military commission of inquiry has been set up and all those implicated in this attempted coup are being questioned to shed light on this affair," Balde told reporters in the capital Bissau. "We have Americo Bubo Na Tchuto in our hands," he said.
Balde said military officers had toured barracks in the West African country last week, trying to enlist support for military intervention to end a political crisis while Armed Forces Chief of Staff General Batista Tagme Na Wai was abroad.
Na Tchuto's arrest on Wednesday added to a deepening political crisis in the former Portuguese colony, which is also gripped by a booming international cocaine trade.
Within the last week, President Joao Bernardo Vieira has dissolved parliament and named a new prime minister after the supreme court declared the law makers' mandate invalid and the opposition left a unity government.
New legislative elections are not scheduled until November.
Guinea-Bissau is no stranger to coups or instability, having been shaken by a series of crises since independence in 1974.
The country is under intense scrutiny for its role as a hub in the multi-billion-dollar global cocaine trade.