Bissau soldiers attack president’s home after poll

Mutinous soldiers in Guinea-Bissau attacked the home of President Joao Bernardo ”Nino” Vieira early on Sunday just over a day after parliamentary election results were announced, witnesses said.

But after an overnight gun battle lasting several hours around Vieira’s home in the capital’s Tchon de Pepel district, the bid to overthrow or kill Vieira appeared to have failed, the witnesses said. At least two people were reported killed.

The capital Bissau was reported quiet on Sunday.

The African Union expressed its concern over the violence, which followed the announcement on Friday that Guinea-Bissau’s former ruling PAIGC party had won a clear parliamentary majority in polls held in the former Portuguese colony on November 16.

Senegalese President Abdoulaye Wade said he had received an overnight phone call from Vieira saying that soldiers had opened fire in front of his house. ”He told me that the soldiers were firing at his house,” Wade told Radio France International.

Wade said he sent Senegalese troops to the border with Guinea-Bissau and had prepared a plane to evacuate Vieira and his family, but Vieira had not wanted to leave.

The Senegalese leader appealed to the mutinous Guinea-Bissau troops to return to their barracks.

On Friday, Guinea-Bissau’s national electoral commission announced that the African Party for the Independence of Guinea-Bissau and Cape Verde (PAIGC) had won 67 of 100 National Assembly seats in the polls a week ago.

But opposition leader Koumba Yala, a former president overthrown in a 2003 coup who has accused Vieira of involvement in drug-trafficking, dismissed the results as rigged.

Yala heads of the Social Renewal Party (PRS) which draws its strength from the Balante ethnic group and is backed by military chiefs. It gained 28 seats in the Nov. 16 poll, making it the second strongest party after the PAIGC. – Reuters

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