According to Guinea-Bissau’s president, many members of the security forces were killed in a suspected coup in the West African country.
The situation was under control, according to Umaro Cissoko Embaló, who described it as a “failed attack on democracy.”
On Tuesday, gunfire occurred outside a government building in Bissau, where the president was said to be holding a cabinet meeting.
The president and his ministers are believed to have been detained by soldiers.
According to accounts from the ground, unidentified heavily armed gunmen assaulted the government palace while President Embaló was visiting Prime Minister Nuno Gomes Nabiam inside.
According to a security source who did not want to be recognized, gunmen dressed in civilian clothing opened fire, killing a police officer.
Regional authorities in West Africa called the incident a coup attempt and encouraged troops to return to their barracks.
What transpired, however, is still unknown: the gunman’s identity is unknown, and the president did not provide an exact number of those slain.
Since 1980, the former Portuguese colony has had nine coups or attempted coups, making it one of the poorest countries on the planet.
With a vast foreign debt and an economy reliant on foreign help, the country has also become a transit site for Latin American drugs, earning it the moniker “Africa’s first narco-state” by some.
Mr Embaló said the “well-planned and organized” attack could have been “connected to persons involved in drug trafficking” on Tuesday evening, but provided no further details.
Mr Embaló won the presidential election in December 2019, but faced a last-minute impasse with parliament before assuming office in February 2020.