Six killed in failed coup in Guinea-Bissau

At least six people were killed in a failed attempt to overthrow Guinea-Bissau's President Umaro Sissoco Embalo, state radio said on Wednesday, as residents of the capital cautiously returned to daily life.

The dead in Tuesday's incident included four assailants and two members of the presidential guard, it said. Embalo had announced on Tuesday night that the situation was under control after gunfire rang out for more than five hours near a government compound where he was holding a cabinet meeting.

The West African country, which has a population of about 2 million, has now seen 10 coups or attempted coups since independence from Portugal in 1974. Only one democratically elected president has completed a full term.

It remains unclear who was behind the attack, which Embalo said was not only a failed coup but an assassination attempt.

In a video, the president suggested that not all units of the army were involved but that the attackers may have been linked to the drug trade.

Guinea-Bissau is known as a major transit point for Latin American cocaine headed for Europe, contributing to its perpetual instability.

The Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) commission president Jean-Claude Kassi Brou said the army was responsible, adding in a Twitter post on Wednesday: "I welcome the failure of the military coup attempt in Guinea-Bissau, which was an attack on democracy and the people."

The main road linking the city center to the airport remained closed on Wednesday morning since it goes past the presidential palace, but banks and shops had reopened and people were venturing out, a Reuters reporter said.

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