Guinea-Bissau’s political parties are meeting in an attempt to agree on a unity government, following the coup on Thursday that disrupted an unfinished presidential vote and threw the West African nation into renewed turmoil.
In a statement, the self-styled Military Command ordered political meetings to begin and said the resulting unity government would be a transitional administration.
The coup leaders said they overthrew the civilian government because an alleged secret agreement between Guinea-Bissau and Angola authorizing authorities in Luanda to take action against Guinea-Bissau’s military forces. There was no explanation or confirmation of the supposed agreement with Angola.
The streets of the capital, Bissau, were quiet and soldiers guarded public buildings on Saturday. Local radio broadcasts were suspended, and there was little information about two top political figures detained at the beginning of the coup – former prime minister and presidential frontrunner Carlos Gomes Junior and interim president Raimundo Pereira.
The two were the only candidates in a presidential runoff election that had been set for April 29. A military spokesman reported both men are well but still in custody.
Delegates from Portuguese-speaking countries have been gathering in Lisbon to discuss what to do about the upheaval in Guinea-Bissau. At the United Nations, the Security Council condemned the coup and said a civilian government must be returned to power. U.S. officials have delivered the same message.