Reports from Bissau, the capital of the West African nation of Guinea-Bissau, say there has been gunfire in the vicinity of the presidential palace.

Unconfirmed reports say soldiers have surrounded the building. President Umaro Sissoco Embaló was understood to be inside.

Ecowas, the regional bloc promoting political and economic co-operation in West Africa, has condemned what it calls an “attempted coup” in Guinea-Bissau, and is urging the military to return to its barracks.

It follows reports of men in civilian clothing opening fire close to a government building hosting a meeting between the president and prime minister of Guinea-Bissau, whose whereabouts remain unknown.

“Ecowas is following with great concern the evolution of the situation in Guinea-Bissau… where military gunfire is taking place around the government palace,” Reuters quotes the statement as saying.

“Ecowas condemns this attempted coup and holds the military responsible for the safety of President Umaro Sissoco Embaló and members of his government.”

In recent days Ecowas suspended another of its members, Burkina Faso, where the military mounted a putsch.


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