President of Guinea-Bissau Assassinated
West African leader reportedly killed by army in a hail of bullets
By Jason Farago,  Newser Staff
Posted Mar 2, 2009 6:49 AM CST
Navy Seal Mohamed Camara Tawal stands on a street corner in central Bissau, Guinea-Bissau, July 18, 2007.   (AP Photo/Rebecca Blackwell)
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(Newser) – The president of the West African republic of Guinea-Bissau was shot dead today, reportedly by soldiers. The Times of London reports that João Bernardo Vieira was assassinated only hours after the head of the army died in a bomb attack. While it's unclear whether a coup is taking place, the violent outbreak follows weeks of tension between the army and the president.

This weekend army officers entered the headquarters of two private radio stations and ordered them to end broadcasts "for the security of the journalists." Though Vieira was democratically elected, Guinea-Bissau has been politically unstable in recent years. Latin-American drug gangs have moved in, smuggling cocaine to Europe through the country's poorly policed coastline and airfields.