By Babajide Okeowo
A coup has been averted in Guinea Bissau as President Umaro Sissoco Embaló of Guinea-Bissau says calm has returned to the country following an attack on the presidential palace.
The Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) had described the attack as a coup attempt.
Embaló took to his Facebook page to post that “Calm returns to Bissau,”
The post was accompanied by a picture of the president speaking with a military officer and another man who wore a suit.
Recall that earlier on Tuesday, gunshots were heard near the presidential palace in Bissau, capital of the country.
Soldiers were said to have surrounded the building where Embaló was reportedly attending a cabinet meeting.
Military vehicles reportedly drove through the streets, while businesses and schools were shut.
ECOWAS, in a statement on Tuesday, condemned the attempted coup and urged the soldiers to return to their barracks.
“ECOWAS is following with great concern the evolution of the situation in Guinea-Bissau, characterised this Tuesday, February 1, 2022, by military shots around the Government Palace,” the statement reads.
“ECOWAS condemns this attempted coup d’état and considers the military to be responsible for the safety of President Umaro Sissoco Embalo and the members of his government.
“ECOWAS asks the military to return to the barracks and to maintain a republican stance.”
The West African region experienced military takeovers in Mali, Guinea and Burkina Faso in August 2020, September 2021 and January 2022, respectively.
Last Monday, the military in Burkina Faso seized power and overthrew President Roch Kaboré.
The soldiers, who detained Kabore, suspended the constitution, and dissolved the government and the national assembly.
Paul-Henri Sandaogo Damiba, who led the coup, said the country will return to constitutional order when “conditions are right”.