Gunmen attack private radio station in Guinea-Bissau
Gunmen in Guinea-Bissau on Monday ransacked a private radio station critical of the government, a manager said, in an attack that follows a foiled coup in the West African country last week.
Masked assailants arrived at the station in the capital Bissau in 4×4s and started shooting and trashing radio equipment, according to one of its managers.
“They forced me to kneel down and hit me with the butt of the Kalashnikov,” said one of the managers of Capital FM, who declined to be named.
“A colleague was wounded trying to escape,” he added. “Our equipment was destroyed. We stopped broadcasting.”
Capital FM is highly critical of the government President Umaro Sissoco Embalo, 49, and considered close to Guinea-Bissau’s formerly dominant African Party for the Independence of Guinea and Cape Verde (PAIGC).
Attacks on the station have become more common in recent years. In July 2020, unidentified gunmen also broke into the station and destroyed equipment.
The most recent incident comes after a coup attempt on February 1 that claimed 11 lives in impoverished Guinea-Bissau.
Neither the identity nor the motives of the coup plotters was clear, and the army has launched an investigation.
Embalo, a reserve brigadier general, took office in February 2020 after winning an election that followed four years of political in-fighting under Guinea-Bissau’s semi-presidential system.
His chief opponent, PAIGC candidate Domingos Simoes Pereira, bitterly contested the result but Embalo declared himself president without waiting for the outcome of his petition to the Supreme Court.
On Saturday, security forces also prevented PAIGC members from holding a meeting in Bissau.
Guinea-Bissau, a coastal state of around two million people south of Senegal, has suffered four military coups since 1974, its most recent in 2012.