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Guinea-Bissau army says holding leader of rebel security forces unit

Updated 22:37, 01-Dec-2023

Gunfire was heard for part of the night and early on Friday in Guinea-Bissau's capital, Bissau, in exchanges between members of the national guard and presidential guard special forces. 

Guinea-Bissau's army is holding the leader of the security forces unit involved in overnight clashes and is in control of the situation, an army chief of staff spokesman said on Friday. 

The firing came after national guard soldiers freed two members of the government, who had been questioned by police on Thursday, according to AFP.

The Guinea-Bissau National Guard commander, Colonel Vitor Tchongo, and several others from this unit were reportedly arrested on Friday morning in the capital Bissau by military police, military sources said.

"Colonel (Victor) Tchongo is in our hands. The situation is completely under control," said military chief of staff spokesman Captain Jorgito Biague.

According to the sources, these individuals were apprehended following armed clashes between members of the National Guard and the Presidential Palace Battalion.

A press release from the General Staff of the Armed Forces said that at 8 p.m. (2000 GMT) on Thursday, a group of soldiers, led by their commander Colonel Vitor Tchongo, released individuals who were being questioned at the judicial police building.

These incidents occurred during the absence of President Umaro Sissoco Embalo and Chief of General Staff of the armed forces Biague Na Ntan, who are currently out of the country.

(With input from agencies)

(Cover: A man walks down an empty street in Guinea-Bissau, December 1, 2023. /CFP)

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