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Soldiers arrest Guinea-Bissau prime minister

Text by NEWS WIRES

Latest update : 2010-04-01

Guinea Bissau Prime Minister Carlos Gomes Junior was arrested Thursday by a group of soldiers while military music interrupted the usual broadcasts on national radio.

REUTERS - Soldiers entered the office of Guinea-Bissau Prime Minister Carlos Gomes Junior on Thursday and detained him, according to a Reuters witness.

The incident happened minutes after a group of soldiers went to the nearby United Nations office and walked out with Bubo Na Tchuto, a former navy chief who had been taking refuge there after being suspected of leading a failed 2008 coup.

President Malam Bacai Sanha did not appear to be affected by the incidents, said a Western diplomat in the capital contacted by telephone.

"(Gomes) was detained this morning. Bubo Na Tchuto has voluntarily left the U.N. compound. The events are related," said the diplomat, who declined to be named.

The capital Bissau was calm but the Reuters witness said some banks and shops had shut.

Na Tchuto took refuge in the U.N. offices in the capital in December after returning from exile in nearby Gambia in a canoe, disguised as a fisherman.

The United Nations and Guinea-Bissau agreed in early January he would be handed over to Gomes Junior's government, but Na Tchuto remained on the U.N. premises in the capital Bissau.

His return prompted a tightening of security, including increased road checks, in a fragile state seen as a hub of the narcotics trade into Europe.

 

Date created : 2010-04-01

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