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Heavy gunfire has been heard in the capital of Guinea-Bissau near the seat of the government, according to media reports.
Armed men surrounded the government palace on Tuesday, where President Umaro Sissoco Embalo and Prime Minister Nuno Gomes Nabiam were believed to have gone to attend a cabinet meeting.
The state broadcaster reported that the shooting has damaged the government palace, which is located close to the airport, and that “invaders” are holding government officials.
Al Jazeera’s Nicolas Haque, reporting from Dakar in neighboring Senegal, said it was unclear whether the gunfire was the presidential guards trying to protect the president, or if there was an attack on the government palace.
Portugal’s foreign affairs minister said that Embalo was at his official residence, but it was not clear if the attack on the government was over.
“The latest information I have is positive given that the president is already at his palace, at his official residence … but we still don’t know if the attack is over,” Augusto Santos Silva said in an interview with Portuguese broadcaster RTP.
People were seen fleeing the area, the local markets were closed and banks shut their doors, while military vehicles laden with troops drove through the streets, according to AFP news agency.
If confirmed, this would be the second coup in West Africa in as many weeks after the military seized power in Burkina Faso last week.
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