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International community condemns apparent coup attempt

International condemnation has mounted after soldiers in the unstable west African country of Guinea-Bissau arrested Prime Minister Carlos Gomes Junior and threatened to kill him. It remained unclear Friday whether Gomes is still under house arrest.

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AFP - EU foreign affairs chief Catherine Ashton condemned Thursday's apparent coup bid in Guinea-Bissau by elements of the armed forces as "an unacceptable breach of the constitutional order."

In a statement issued after Guinea-Bissau soldiers arrested the army chief and prime minister, Ashton said "the EU calls for the immediate cessation of irresponsible behaviours and for the full respect of the elementary democratic rules."

The EU's High Representative of the Union for foreign and security policy "condemns in the strongest terms the measures taken in Guinea Bissau by some elements of the armed forces," the statement said.

"The stabilization of Guinea Bissau through a peaceful and democratic process remains crucial," Ashton concluded.

In Bissau, newly designated army chief Antonio Indjai sought to downplay the events, saying the turmoil resulted from a "purely military problem" and that the military still answered to political authorities.

The European Union has, since 2008, had a security support mission in the historically unstable African nation.

Part of its mandate is to advise and assist the local authorities to downsize and restructure the army.

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