Guinea-Bissau has declared seven days of national mourning for
President Joao Bernardo Vieira, who was shot and killed by soldiers at
his home Monday.
The declaration follows a Cabinet meeting where ministers ordered
prosecutors to probe the deaths of the president and army chief of
staff Tagme Na Waie, killed in a separate bomb blast late Sunday.
No one has claimed responsibility for the killings, though security
sources say Mr. Vieira was gunned down by mutinous soldiers, possibly
seeking revenge for the death of the army chief.
The military has denied any involvement in the president's death. A spokesman (Zamora Induta) says the attack was the work of an isolated group and emphasized the military is not attempting a coup d'etat.
The military said in an earlier statement that it will respect
constitutional order and democracy in the West African country. The
constitution calls for parliament speaker Raimundo Perreira to take
power until elections are held, within 60 days.
Guinea-Bissau's government says both Mr. Vieira and General Na Waie will have state funerals in the coming days.
Mr. Vieira died trying to flee the presidential palace Monday after
soldiers attacked. The army chief of staff died hours earlier, when a
bomb went off at the military headquarters.
The capital, Bissau, was calm Monday after a night of explosions and gunfire.
The late president and military chief were considered political rivals,
and both had survived assassination attempts in the last few months.
Guinea-Bissau, a former Portuguese colony, has suffered years of coups
and civil strife. In the past few years, the country has become a
conduit for smuggling Latin American cocaine to Europe. It is one of
the poorest countries in the world.