Coup leaders call for ′national unity government′ | News | DW | 13.04.2012
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Coup leaders call for 'national unity government'

Military leaders responsible for a coup in Guinea-Bissau held a meeting with political figures on Friday, and confirmed that the country's top government officials were in their custody.

Leaders of a military coup in Guinea-Bissau confirmed Friday that the country's prime minister, interim president, and army chief-of-staff - all captured a day earlier - have been arrested and were in the military's custody.

"The three are safe and sound and are under the control of the army," a statement from the military leaders read.

Army chiefs previously held a meeting with political leaders, telling them a "government of national unity" should be considered. Under the agreement, the leaders of the coup would control the defense and interior ministries, according to sources who were at the meeting.

The Guinea-Bissau army said on Friday it had launched the coup because of a government pact with Angola to have foreign troop stationed in the country.

A communiqué from an unnamed military commander broadcast on state radio, claimed the move had been necessary to stop "foreign aggression."

The United Nations Security Council condemned the coup in Guinea-Bissau on Friday and demanded that the government of Prime Minister Carlos Gomes Jr. be restored to power. On Thursday, troops attacked Gomes's residence, lobbing grenades at his home as the ruling party headquarters and the national radio station were seized.

The United States also condemned the actions of the military leaders.

"We call for the release of all government leaders and urge all parties to reconcile their differences through the democratic process," said White House spokesman Jay Carney in a statement from Colombia, where President Barack Obama is attending a regional summit.

The coup effort comes just two weeks ahead of a presidential runoff vote, which Gomes was expected to win.

Guinea-Bissau has had several military coups since gaining independence from Portugal in 1974.

mz/mr (AFP, AP, Reuters)