- Guinea-Bissau military has today confirmed an attack on Chief of Staff General Batista Tagme Na Wai by armed forces at the presidential palace in the capital city Bissau on Sunday. However, a presidential guard officer has said the incident was an accident and not an attempt to kill the General.
The presidential guard officer said the AK-47 automatic rifle of one of President Joao Bernardo Vieira's guard had gone off while General Na Wai and his escort were passing near presidential palace.
According to a statement issued by the military today, the General was targeted by shots fired by the militiamen, who are reported to have been recruited by Interior Minister Cipriano Cassama.
The statement further said the army headquarters had decided to disarm the 400 militiamen, Aguentas, who were recruited as personal body guards to protect president Vieira, in the aftermath of a failed assassination attempt on 23 November 2008.
The statement further indicated that three soldiers were held for questioning by the military investigators following the failed attack on the chief of staff.
Reports said General Na Wai has questioned the recruitment of the Aguentas for presidential security without the involvement of the top security officials including the armed forces chief.
He said the group would be disbanded with the armed forces taking the responsibility of security at the presidential palace, further stating that and the president, the prime minister and the interior minister had been informed of the move.
Guinea-Bissau, a former Portuguese colony has seen a number of coups since independence in 1974, but to date, conflicts and possible coups have not subsided despite elections in June 2005, which had ended the caretaker government that took over after former president Kumba Yala was ousted in 2003.
Guinea-Bissau remains one of the most poorest states in the world, though cashew nut crop provides a modest living for most of Guinea-Bissau's farmers and it is the main source of foreign exchange.
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