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Africa
Guinea-Bissau hunts 'coup leader'
Security forces search for political rival's nephew after attack on president.
Last Modified: 24 Nov 2008 17:55 GMT
 Vieira's party comfortably won last week's parliamentary elections taking 67 of 100 seats [EPA]

Security forces in Guinea-Bissau are hunting for the suspected mastermind behind Sunday's attack on the residence of the country's president.

Joao Bernardo Vieira, who escaped unscathed following the three-hour gun battle at his home, assured the nation later in a televised address that there was no chance of a coup succeeding.

The authorities in the west African state have publicly portrayed the attack as a mutiny by disaffected soldiers.

However, army sources told news agency AFP on Monday that they were "actively searching" for navy sergeant Alexandre Tchama Yala, nephew of former president, Kumba Yala, who was ousted in a bloodless coup five years ago.

One suspected mutineer was killed and several other soldiers injured following Sunday's pre-dawn gunfight. Renegade fighters attacked Vieira's home using machine guns and rocket-propelled grenades.

Arrests

Six people were arrested in the wake of the attack.

Luis Manual Cabral, state prosecutor, said he was expecting to meet General Tagme Na Waie, the army chief-of-staff, to determine what action, if any, should be taken against the detainees.

The spectre of yet another coup in one of the poorest African nations provoked alarm that the state's fragile democracy would be derailed again.

Abdoulaye Wade, president of neighbouring Senegal, immediately deployed troops along the border following a telephone discussion with Vieira just after the gun battle.

Vieira's African Party for the Independence of Guinea and Cape Verde comfortably won parliamentary elections on November 16, taking 67 of 100 seats according to provisional results.

Kumba Yala, whose party came second with 28 seats, denounced the results as rigged and pledged to challenge them. He is yet to comment on Sunday's attack.

Source:
Agencies
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