Heavy weapons fire heard in Guinea-Bissau capital

Reuters News
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Posted: Apr 12, 2012 5:12 PM
Heavy weapons fire heard in Guinea-Bissau capital

BISSAU (Reuters) - Heavy weapons fire was heard on Thursday around the presidential palace in the capital of Guinea-Bissau, and soldiers were seen blocking the main roads in and out of the city, a Reuters witness and a diplomat said.

The whereabouts of former Prime Minister Carlos Gomes Junior, who had won a first round of a presidential election last month, was not immediately known.

"There is some trouble. We don't know what it is. There is shooting, sporadic machine gun fire and there have been three loud bangs ... We hear it is coming from near Carlos Gomes Junior's house," a diplomat in the capital Bissau told Reuters.

State television had stopped broadcasting.

Guinea-Bissau, a small, impoverished former Portuguese colony in West Africa that has a history of coups and army revolts, is currently in the middle of two rounds of voting to elect a new president to replace Malam Bacai Sanha, who died in a Paris hospital in January after a long illness.

(Reporting by Alberto Dabo, Editing by Pascal Fletcher)