The President and head of the army in Guinea-Bissau have been killed in separate attacks just hours apart. Guinea-Bissau is one of the five poorest nations in the world.
The Associated Press reports:
The African Union condemned the killings, calling them "cowardly and heinous attacks which have come at a time of renewed efforts by the international community to support peace-building efforts in Guinea-Bissau."
President Joao Bernardo Vieira attempted to flee his home in the nation's capital of Bissau when he was gunned down. General Tagme Na Waie died during a bombing at the army headquarters.
An army spokesperson said that the army was responsible for the death of President Vieira. The assassination was the for an earlier attempt on General Tagme Na Waie's life.
Vieira had been the target of soldiers in November when at least one guard was killed by soldiers using automatic weapons.
Waie had also survived an earlier attack in January. He had been ordered to go to the presidency at once at that time. When he went outside to comply with the order gunmen opened fire on his car. He escaped but assumed that the attack had been ordered by Vieira.
Times Online reports:
“President Vieira was killed by the army as he tried to flee his house,” said Zamora Induta. He said that the President was “taken down by bullets fired by … soldiers.”
This was the second time that President Vieira ruled the small African nation. From 1980 to 1999 he ruled before being deposed during a military coup. He was reinstalled as President in 2005 after returning to the country in 2004 from exile.
Tensions between the army and the President though had not lessened as Vieria tried to crackdown on the cocaine industry.
“There is no mutiny aspect to the bombing. It looks more like a drugs hit,” said one analyst. The murder of Mr Vieira was a revenge attack by General Na Waie’s army loyalists.