By Spy Uganda Correspondent
A reported coup in the West African state of Guinea-Bissau has left many members of the security forces dead, its president says.
President Umaro Cissoko Embaló said the situation was under control, calling it a “failed attack against democracy”.
Gunfire erupted near a government building on Tuesday in the capital Bissau where the president was reportedly attending a cabinet meeting.
Soldiers are said to have detained the president and his ministers.
Unidentified heavily armed gunmen attacked the government palace while President Embaló was meeting Prime Minister Nuno Gomes Nabiam inside, according to reports from the ground.
A security source who did not want to be identified said that gunmen in civilian clothes had opened fire and a police officer had been killed.
West African regional leaders described the incident as a coup attempt and urged troops to return to barracks.
But what happened remains unclear: It is not yet known who the gunman were and the president did not give an exact figure for those killed.
One of the poorest countries in the world, the former Portuguese colony has seen nine coups or attempted coups since 1980.
Struggling with a massive foreign debt and an economy that relies heavily on foreign aid, the country has also become a transit point for Latin American drugs, leading it to be dubbed by some as Africa’s first narco-state.
On Tuesday evening Embaló said the “well prepared and organised” attack could have been “related to people involved in drug trafficking,” but gave no further details.
While Embaló won the December 2019 presidential election, he faced a last-minute stand-off with parliament before taking office the following February.
This attempted coup follows couple of others that have been successful in western African like Mali, Equatorial Guinea among other countries.