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
President of Guinea-Bissau Assassinated
Navy Seal Mohamed Camara Tawal stands on a street corner in central Bissau, Guinea-Bissau, July 18, 2007.   (AP Photo/Rebecca Blackwell)

(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.

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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.
(Read more Guinea-Bissau stories.)

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