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Guinea Bissau says coup-plotter executed
by Staff Writers
Bissau (AFP) Dec 30, 2011

Senegalese banned from carrying arms over electoral period
Dakar (AFP) Dec 30, 2011 - Senegal's Interior Minister Ousmane Ngom on Friday banned the carrying of firearms for a period of four months which will include presidential elections, after recent violent political clashes.

"Between January 4, 2012 and April 30, 2012 the carrying of arms, ammunition and explosive devices of all categories is banned across the national territory," read a decree issued by Ngom.

"During this period, no weapon regardless of its category or nature, may be transported outside of homes or workplaces. This ban applies to nationals and foreigners holding permits to carry or hold arms," said the decree.

An interior minister official, speaking on condition of anonymity told AFP that carrying a weapon under normal circumstances was permitted with special authorisation from the ministry, while another permit allowed gun-owners to keep weapons at home or in their office.

He said the measure would apply only to civilians, and not defence and security forces who use their arms as part of their work.

Senegal holds a first-round presidential election on February 26 in which President Abdoulaye Wade is seeking a controversial third term which the opposition says is unconstitutional.

Considered one of Africa's most democratic nations, Senegal has been riven by tensions in recent months and clashes between opponants and ruling party supporters left one dead and three injured on December 22.

Guinea-Bissau's government has said that its security forces executed a police officer earlier this week as he turned himself in over his role in what the regime describes as a coup bid.

Jaime Jose Nhate, chief of staff for the interior ministry, said late Thursday that civil society organisations had informed the minister of Major Yaya Dabo's intent to turn himself in.

"Measures were taken to guarantee Dabo's safety. Two unarmed security agents were even sent to ensure the security" of the vehicle which drove Dabo to the police station.

"Security agents learned that he (Dabo) was responsible for the shooting of one of their comrades" the night before, as police, soldiers and paramilitary police combed the capital for suspects.

As he arrived at the police station "officers on duty encircled his vehicle. He was shot at and killed."

On December 26, troops overran the armed forces headquarters in the troubled west African country's capital in what the authorities later described as a failed coup attempt led by the navy chief, who is now under arrest.

Deadly clashes erupted the following night as loyalist forces hunted suspected coup plotters.

Dabo was the brother of former territorial administration minister Baciro Dabo, who was killed in 2009 three months after the assassination of his close ally, President Joao Bernardo Vieira.

Baciro Dabo was also seen as a strong contender in presidential elections following Vieira's death in an apparent revenge attack by soldiers angered by the killing of their army chief.

The poor former Portuguese colony is notoriously unstable, with a history of coups and army mutinies. Today it has become a transit point for drug cartels who use it as a hub to traffic drugs to Europe.

Only six hours by plane from South America with an un-policed coastline and scores of uninhabited islands, the small country with weak government institutions has become a major channel for South American cocaine.

According to the UN drug agency UNODCY, over 40 tonnes of cocaine passed through the country of 36,000 square kilometres between 2007 and 2009.

Last year, the US Treasury Department froze the assets of navy chief Jose Americo Bubo Na Tchuto -- now under arrest for his role in the alleged coup plot -- and airforce head Ibraima Papa Camara for their "significant role" in drug trafficking.

During the press conference Interior Minister Fernando Gomes said calm had returned to Guinea Bissau and "the situation is under control."

Military spokesman Vilela Carlos said the search for suspects was still under way.

"Many suspects are on the run. So, to be reassured, we need to arrest all of them. We are working day and night and we have deployed our agents on the ground," said Carlos.

On Thursday 25 troops arrested for their role in the alleged coup plot, including navy chief Bubo Na Tchuto, were paraded in front of journalists.

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Army barracks attacked in Mali, Qaeda branch suspected
Bamako (AFP) Dec 30, 2011 - Armed men believed to be members of Al-Qaeda in the Islamic Maghreb (AQIM) attacked a newly built military barracks in north-eastern Mali on Thursday night, security sources told AFP Friday.

"Armed men, strongly suspected of being AQIM militants attacked a military barracks in north-eastern Mali and destroyed part of the building," one of the sources said on condition of anonymity, adding there were no fatalities.

A separate source confirmed the information, saying the attack had taken place in Inhalill in the Kidal region of the desert nation.

"It is a military barracks with offices which had only just been finished. Soldiers have not yet been posted there," she said.

Construction work was financed by the Special Programme for Peace, Security and Development in northern Mali, supported by European Union states such as France.

In October 2010 armed men attempted to obstruct construction on a military barracks in Abeibara, also in the north-east region which borders Algeria. AQIM was also suspected of being behind the attack.

Along with Mali, Algeria and Niger, Mauritania is confronted with rising insecurity due to attacks by AQIM and other criminal groups as well as widely available weapons from the conflict in Libya.

AQIM is involved in terror attacks, kidnappings of Westerners and various types of trafficking, including drugs, in the vast area, which is difficult to police.

A total 12 Europeans are being held hostage in the Sahel region, south of the Sahara desert by AQIM and a splinter group, the Movement for Oneness and Jihad in West Africa.


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25 held over Bissau 'coup plot', weapons cache seized
Bissau (AFP) Dec 29, 2011
Twenty-five renegade soldiers involved in an apparent coup plot in Guinea-Bissau are being detained in the capital and at an air base north of Bissau, an AFP reporter said, after the army uncovered a large cache of weapons. The arms were seized at the homes of two soldiers arrested for taking part in Monday's attack on army headquarters which the regime has described as a coup bid. Army ... read more

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