BISSAU, (Reuters) – Attackers armed with rocket-propelled grenades attacked the headquarters of Guinea-Bissau’s armed forces yesterday, destroying part of the building, witnesses said.
A Reuters witness who heard the boom of weapons went to the site and saw part of the armed forces headquarters had collapsed.
Army troops encircled the area and were searching for the assailants, whose identity was unclear. Five wounded people were taken to hospital, the Reuters witness said.
The impoverished former Portuguese colony has a history of coups and civil conflict.
Military officers ordered two private radio stations in the capital Bissau to cease broadcasting and state television also appeared to have stopped broadcasting.
“For the security of the journalists, you must close the radio station and stop broadcasting. It’s for your own safety,” armed forces spokesman Samuel Fernandes told reporters at Radio Bombolom, a private station in Bissau.
“We are going to pursue the attackers and avenge ourselves,” he said.
Two diplomats in Bissau said they heard a loud explosion coming from the military headquarters, but had no details.
In early January, the armed forces command said militiamen hired to protect President Joao Bernardo “Nino” Vieira had shot at the armed forces chief of staff, General Batista Tagme Na Wai, who had been critical of Vieira.
A member of the militia denied the shooting had been an assassination attempt, but the armed forces command nevertheless ordered the militia be disbanded.