Guinea presidency guards shot at army chief

Guinea-Bissau's military said on Tuesday the armed forces chief had been fired on by militiamen hired to protect the president and ordered the militia to be disbanded.

Guinea presidency guards shot at army chief
But a presidential guard officer said the incident at midnight on Sunday was an accident and not an attempt to kill armed forces chief General Batista Tagme Na Wai.

"At midnight on January 4 ... General Batista Tagme Na Wai was aimed at by a burst of gunfire fired by Aguentas militia mobilised and armed by Interior Minister Cipriano Cassama," the armed forces command said in a statement broadcast by state media. No injuries were reported from the incident.

A presidential guard officer said the AK-47 automatic rifle of one of Vieira's guard had gone off while General Na Wai and his escort were passing. "It wasn't an assassination attempt," adjutant Albino Bogra told reporters.

Guinea-Bissau, whose main export is cashew nuts, is among the poorest countries in the world. Its security has been threatened in recent years by Colombian cocaine cartels using its territory to smuggle drugs to Europe.

The interior ministry had recruited a 400-strong force of militia, known as Aguentas, to be Vieira's personal bodyguard after the president was the target of a machinegun and rocket-propelled grenade attack on his residence on Nov. 23.

Vieira survived the raid, carried out by dissident soldiers.

The armed forces command, which would normally handle the head of state's security, said on Tuesday it would disband the militia. "These armed individuals who have been recruited outside all legal procedure are not members of the military nor security agents from any state institution," it said.

Last Mod: 06 Ocak 2009, 16:36
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