- Guinea Bissau troops have reportedly gunned down President João Bernardo Vieira early today, just a few hours after bombing wrecked military base in the capital Bissau killing the army chief of staff, local reports have revealed.
Reports said President Vieira was shot around 5 am today as he tried to flee his presidential palace after the army accused him of plotting the explosion that took the life of General Tagme Na Waie.
General Tagme Na Waie died when a bomb detonated in his office on Sunday with five other high-ranking military officials reported to be wounded, two of them critically according to local news reports.
"The army killed the president Vieira when he tried to escape from his house, and attacked by a group of soldiers early this morning (Monday)," said the military officer responsible for Foreign Affairs, Zamura Induta.
The official said President Vieira was responsible for death of general Na Waie, accusing the President of blocking development, saying his death would be a fresh start for the country.
Last November, a military group carried out a night attack on the residence of President Vieira, causing two deaths among his guards.
President Vieira has recently ordered a recruitment of a 400-strong personal bodyguard that was accused of opening fire on the army commander in January, sparking tension between his government and security and the national troops.
General Na Waie's predecessor was also assassinated in October 2004 by soldiers.
President Vieira, 69 returned to power in an election in 2005 after an earlier spell as a military ruler in the 1980s and 1990s.
He had played a leading part in the guerrilla war against Portuguese rule that led Portugal ceding power in 1974 and gave the poor African state independence.
Guinea Bissau, an ex-Portuguese colony on the Atlantic coast of Africa, has experienced a decade of civil conflict, including military coups. President Vieira seized power in 1980, before being elected president in the country’s first democratic elections in 1994. He was ousted in a coup in 1999, he was re-elected again in 2005, after pledging to develop the economy.
Guinea Bissau remains one of Africa's poorest countries, with its economy based on export of cashew nuts.
The tiny state has also been wrecked by drug money that has flowed to corrupt officials as smugglers pay bribes to use the country's coastline and remote airstrips for cocaine trans-shipments.
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