Army seizes power in Guinea-Bissau

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The Independent Online

The army in the west African country of Guinea-Bissau staged a bloodless coup yesterday, arresting President Kumba Yala and detaining government ministers.

Troops were deployed at strategic points in Bissau, the capital of the former Portuguese colony, to enforce a curfew, but there were no reports of shooting or injuries. An army spokesman said a military committee would govern until elections could be held. The Portuguese government said it regretted the coup and urged the military to "return to constitutional legality".

The coup, announced by radio to the nation of one million, came amid mounting political and social unrest. The country is one of the poorest in the world and public-sector workers have not been paid for six months. Elections promised by Mr Yala were postponed last week for the fourth time this year, causing widespread anger.

The chief of staff of the armed forces, General Verissimo Correia Seabra, in a brief radio interview, accused Mr Yala of causing "political instability" that undermined the country's development.(AP)