US, Cape Verde concerned over reported coup attempt

The United States and Cape Verde on Tuesday, expressed concern over the announcement by Guinea-Bissau that it foiled an attempted coup on Sunday, and arrested suspected plotters. President Pedro Pires of Cape Verde said he was "deeply concerned" while United States Ambassador Harriet Elam-Thomas met Guinea-Bissau's President Kumba Yala and advised of US "concern", news agencies reported.

Speaking to journalists in Cape Verde's capital Praia, Pires was reported by PANA as saying he was "monitoring the situation in Guinea Bissau with deep concern and interest". On Monday, he sent his Political Adviser, Antonio Lima, to deliver a message to Yala. The content of the message was not disclosed, the news agency added.

The US ambassador, who is based in Senegal's capital, Dakar, was quoted by the Portuguese news agency, LUSA, as saying she had advised Yala of US "concern" over his country's international image. "I came to your country with the intention of seeing with my own eyes what has happened and to have direct contact with the authorities, from whom I received sufficiently clear explanations", Elam-Thomas was quoted after the meeting with Yala.

Yala guaranteed her that a full account of Sunday's reported attempted armed takeover would be given once it had been investigated by the country's attorney general, LUSA reported the ambassador as saying.

News reports from the capital Bissau on Wednesday, said the country remained calm. The interior minister Alamara Nhasse, was expected to appear before parliament to further explain events regarding the situation, news agencies quoted parliamentarians as saying.

Opposition leaders in the country were quoted by news agencies as describing the events as "deplorable". Francisco Benante, the parliamentary leader of the third-largest opposition party, the African Party for the Independence of Guinea and Cape Verde (PAIGC), told LUSA that his home had been searched on Monday afternoon by a group of soldiers, without reason.

Guinea-Bissau's government announced on Monday that it had foiled an attempted coup by a "group of soldiers and armed police", led by Almami Camara, former deputy army chief. It said Camara had been planning the coup attempt for six months and was arrested along with former navy officer Lamine Mane. Several other officers suspected to be involved, were on the run news agencies quoted Minister Nhasse as saying on Monday. As at Wednesday, no mention had been made of the whereabouts of those arrested, diplomats told IRIN.