GUINEA-BISSAU: Opposition want evidence of attempted coup
Abidjan, 6 December 2001 (IRIN) - Guinea Bissau's Internal Affairs Minister Alamara Nhasse failed to convince parliament on Wednesday, that the reported coup attempt on Sunday, did actually take place. Instead opposition members demanded he produces evidence of the attempted coup to parliament, news agencies reported on Thursday.
The minister, the agencies reported, told the National Assembly the list of coup-plotters would be made public to prove that the conspiracy was genuine. But he would not give details of how many people had been arrested since Sunday night, only adding there were no civilians in detention, BBC reported.
The operational plans of the coup plotters, the Portuguese news agency LUSA quoted the minister as saying, were captured in a briefcase belonging to former deputy army chief, Almani Camara.
But opposition leaders described the minister's statements as reminiscent of general past practices when a regime felt threatened. "When plots are discussed, we soon think of invention and this is a device already used during the regime of Kumba Yala", an opposition source was quoted by LUSA.
It also quoted the leader of the newly-created Party for the Development of Citizenship (PDC), Francisco Fradul, as saying: "My training as a lawyer and democratic education teaches me that there is a presumption of innocence until proved otherwise ... the alleged coup was no more than a new invention".
The BBC, saying the country was going through a constitutional crisis, quoted Helder Vaz opposition MP, as saying government would have to appear before the parliament to give details because it had an obligation to explain what actually happened between Sunday night and Monday morning.
Francisco Benante, head of the opposition African Party for the Independence of Guinea and Cape Verde (PAIGC), whose home was searched on Monday by soldiers, demanded concrete evidence of the coup and said the minister had only repeated a previous address.
The reported attempted coup is the latest in the political crises the West African country is facing. On Wednesday, the governments of United States and Cape Verde expressed concern over the coup reports.
"President Yala", BBC reported," has in recent weeks been engaged in bitter disputes with judges, opposition parties, trade unions and ministers who have fallen from favour".