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Guinea-Bissau army chief: interior minister behind shooting incident
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20:31, January 08, 2009

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Guinea-Bissau's army chief has filed a complaint against the interior minister about his involvement in a recent shooting incident, in a latest sign of instability following the Nov. 23 coup attempt in the tiny West African nation.

Armed Forces Chief of Staff General Batista Tagme Na Wai has issued a communique, saying Interior Minister Cipriano Cassama was behind shooting at him by "elements of the presidential guard," the Dakar-based APA News Agency reported on Wednesday.

"On Jan. 4, around midnight, General Tagme Na Wai was the target of a fire from elements of the presidential guard under the orders of the Minister of Interior Administration, Cipriano Cassama," the communique said.

According to the communique, these elements, who supported President Joao Bernado Vieira during the 1998-1999 civil war, were recently integrated into the presidential guard, before being disarmed on Monday night and returning to their original corps.

Na Wai made the reference to 400 militiamen recruited by the Interior Ministry to protect President Vieira after renegade soldiers launched a pre-dawn attack on his residence in the capital Bissau.

A spokesman for the presidential guard said after Sunday's shooting incident that the rifle of a guard went off when General Na Wai's escort were passing by, describing it as an accident rather than an attempt to assassinate him.

Na Wai is reportedly critical of President Vieira for some appointments.

Guinea-Bissau won its independence from Portugal in 1974. The country with a population of 1.5 million has witnessed military coups and a civil war between 1998 and 1999.

Source: Xinhua

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