BISSAU - Six people were killed in a gunbattle near Guinea-Bissau's capital overnight in an apparent counter-coup attempt, sources said on Sunday.

The West African state, a hub for international cocaine traffickers, is in the midst of a messy recovery after the army overthrew the government and derailed elections in April.

"It appears to have been a failed counter-coup," one diplomatic source said of the fighting, asking not to be named. "The military is checking vehicles around Bissau, mostly vehicles that are leaving," he said.