Prime Minister of Guinea-Bissau Carlos Gomes Junior speaking in Dakar. Soldiers arrested the presidential front-runner Carlos Gomes Junior after staging an apparent coup in this West African state., a photo by Pan-African News Wire File Photos on Flickr.
Guinea-Bissau prime minister arrested by soldiers
Friday, April 13, 2012
Guinea-Bissau - Soldiers have arrested the prime minister of this tiny nation known for transiting cocaine to Europe, a military spokesman said Friday.
It is the latest instability to roil the coup-prone West African country, where no leader in nearly 40 years has finished his time in office.
The announcement of Prime Minister Carlos Gomes Jr.'s detention came hours after his home came under attack by grenades.
Guinea-Bissau was due to hold a contentious presidential runoff election on April 29, and Gomes was the front-runner.
In 2009, the country's longtime leader was assassinated in his home, and his successor died from illness in January before finishing his term, prompting this year's special election. The timing of Thursday's power grab was not accidental, said Martin Roberts, a West Africa analyst with IHS Global Insight.
"It looks like what they don't want is the person who probably was going to become president to win the second round," he said.
In a communique released Friday in Bissau, an unidentified military commander claimed that Gomes was going to allow troops from Angola to attack military forces in Guinea-Bissau. Roberts said military officials probably feared the Angolans would interfere with cocaine trafficking.
Officially, most of Guinea-Bissau's earnings come from cashew nuts. But traffickers from Latin America use the nation's archipelago of uninhabited islands to land small, twin-engine planes loaded with drugs.
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