The Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) and the United Nations (UN) has condemned the attempted coup in Guinea Bissau, calling an immediate halt to the fighting and complete respect for the country’s democratic institutions.
The Economic Community of West African States issued a statement in response to the attempted coup in Guinea Bissau, stating that it “condemns this attempted coup” and urged soldiers to “return to their barracks.”
The group warned that it “holds the military accountable for President Umaro Sissoco Embalo’s and his government’s safety.”
Also United Nations’ Secretary General Antonio Guterres was “very disturbed” by reports of intense violence in Guinea Bissau, according to a UN statement.
In the statement, Guterres urged for “an immediate halt to the fighting and complete respect for the country’s democratic institutions.”
According to AFP reporters, sustained gunfire was heard near the government’s palace in the coup-prone West African state of Guinea-Bissau on Tuesday.
President Umaro Sissoco Embalo and Prime Minister Nuno Gomes Nabiam were believed to have gone to a cabinet meeting when heavily armed men surrounded the Palace of Government.
The structure is near the airport and on the outskirts of Bissau’s capital.
People were spotted fleeing the neighborhood, local markets and banks were closed, and military vehicles filled with troops were seen driving through the streets.
The underdeveloped coastal state south of Senegal is a former Portuguese colony with a population of roughly two million people.
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Since its independence in 1974, it has had four military coups, the most recent in 2012.
The country promised to return to constitutional government in 2014, but there has been little stability since then, and the armed forces wield significant power.
Kadeejah Diop, a 36-year-old Frenchwoman from Bissau, claimed she had rushed home from school to take up her two children when she saw armed troops approach the Palace of Government.
“They forced all of the female employees to quit. There was a lot of anxiety,” She told AFP over the phone from her house.
“We’re currently cooped up inside. We have no new information.”