President Iala releases opposition leaders

Six opposition activists in Guinea-Bissau were released from detention on Monday on the order of President Kumba Iala, who said he had acted "in the name of peace".

The six activists of the African Party for the Independence of Guinea-Bissau and Cape Verde (PAIGC - Portuguese acronym)had been detained without charge since Friday. The reason for their detention was not made public.

According to Portuguese news agency, Lusa, the six were released after a meeting between President Iala and foreign diplomats, the government and military chiefs. Their arrest had been the latest in a series of detentions of opposition and human rights activists in the run-up to early parliamentary elections slated for April.

The PAIGC, which led the country to independence from Portugal in 1974, has joined other opposition parties in an election alliance against Iala's Social Renovation Party.