Calm has returned to Guinea Bissau after mutineers failed to topple the two year-old government of President Umaro Sissoco Embalo.
In a post on Facebook on Tuesday night, Embalo said “calm returns to Bissau!”
His Facebook account showed photos of Embalo meeting with military officers, including Gen. Biague Na Ntan, Chief of the General Staff of the Revolutionary Armed Forces of the People (FARP), the Bissau-Guinean military.
Another post on an unverified Twitter account claiming to be Embalo said the situation was “under government control.”
In an interview given to Jeune Afrique news agency, Embalo said he was still in the presidential palace and that there were “many dead” after the shooting in the capital, which lasted for more than five hours.
He said the deaths were the work of “isolated elements.”
“The latest information I have is positive given that the president is already at his palace, at his official residence”, Portuguese Foreign Affairs Minister Augusto Santos Silva told Portuguese broadcaster RTP in an interview on Tuesday afternoon.
Earlier on Tuesday, gunfire was heard near the Government Palace in Bissau, where President Umaro Sissoco Embalo and Prime Minister Nuno Gomes Nabiam were holding an extraordinary meeting of the Council of Ministers.
According to Lusa Agency, soldiers entered the building and ordered the ministers to leave.
ECOWAS responded swiftly and condemned the plotters.
“ECOWAS is following developments in Guinea-Bissau with great concern, characterized by military gunshots around the Presidential Palace on Tuesday 1st February 2022.
“ECOWAS condemns this coup attempt and holds the military responsible for the physical integrity of President Umaro Sissoco EMBALO and the members of his Government.
“ECOWAS asks the military to return to their barracks and maintain a Republican posture”.