Attempted coup in Guinea-Bissau: President of Guinea-Bissau says coup attempt failed, government is in control

“I never thought that we would get into such a situation,” said Embaló. “I never thought Bissau Guineans could commit another act of violence.”

Defense forces stood in the crossfire with the suspected perpetrators for five hours before thwarting the coup, Embaló said.

He added that “many” members of the security forces were killed in the failed attempt, but did not confirm the number of casualties. Several arrests have also been made, the president said.

Embaló also said he believes the perpetrators of the coup intended to kill him and members of his cabinet, who had gathered at the palace for a weekly meeting. Drug dealers and corrupt agents were also involved in the “very well planned” coup attempt.

“Power comes from the people – through ballots,” Embaló said, adding: “Guinea-Bissau is mourning today.”

Earlier in the day, the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) called for peace in Guinea-Bissau when gunshots were heard around the government palace in the capital, Bissau.

The unrest in Guinea-Bissau came after a military coup rocked Burkina Faso on January 24.

Ahead of Embaló’s speech, Mamadou Jao, an academic from Guinea-Bissau, told CNN that streets across the capital were quiet as concerned residents stayed inside awaiting further information.

“Bissau is calm, but we don’t know what’s happening near the government building… We’re waiting to hear more about what’s happening,” Jao said earlier Tuesday. Jao added that the electricity was cut off in the houses and said, “The place is in darkness for about three or four hours. That doesn’t usually happen.”

David Glovsky, assistant professor of Africana studies at the University of Albany, told CNN that since taking office in early 2020, Embaló “has faced many challenges to his legitimacy, including disputes over his election itself.”

“I doubt many Guineans would be surprised by another coup attempt, and yet this is still so disappointing,” Glovsky said, adding, “Regardless of how anyone feels about President Embaló – and there’s a real range – , the Guineans have too often been at the mercy of the military and elite conflicts not necessarily focused on the concerns of Guineans across the country.

The history of Guinea-Bissau has been marked by several military coups since the country gained independence from Portugal in 1974.

These conflicts have devastated the country’s infrastructure and economy, leaving it one of the poorest in the world.

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