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The BBC's Mark Doyle
"State controlled television in Guinea Bissau showed pictures of a bullet ridden body"
 real 28k

The BBC's Steve Gibbs
"One report says 50 troops loyal to President Yala surrounded the hideout"
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Thursday, 30 November, 2000, 23:36 GMT
Guinea-Bissau rebel general 'shot dead'
General Mane with supporters
General Mane ousted the former president last year
Government troops in Guinea-Bissau are reported to have shot and killed the fugitive coup leader, General Ansumane Mane, in a gun battle north-west of the capital.

The Guinea-Bissau Prime Minister, Caetano Intchama, told Portuguese state radio that General Mane and several of his supporters were cornered by the army. The rebel general and three others were killed and two fled, he said.

The government's claim has not been independently confirmed.

The rebel general defied the government earlier this month by declaring himself head of the armed forces in the former Portuguese colony in West Africa.

Portuguese state television, RTP, showed footage of several bullet-riddled bodies, which it said were those of General Mane and eight of his followers.


Reporting from the capital Bissau, a Portuguese TV correspondent said General Mane was shot in the neck in a clash with loyalist troops near the town of Quinhamel, 30km (20 miles) north of the city.

body shown on Portuguese TV
Portuguese TV showed pictures of bullet-riddled bodies

General Mane had fled the capital with a few followers a week ago after his abortive attempt at a military revolt. Many of his followers deserted when government forces attacked them at an airbase north of Bissau.

Government troops had mounted an extensive search in the archipelagos and islands that make up much of Guinea-Bissau.

The TV correspondent said the latest clash was triggered by the capture of General Mane's security officer, who was brought to Bissau on Thursday.

1975 - independence from Portugal
1980 - president ousted by Joao Bernardo Vieira
1994 - Vieira wins first multi-party elections
June 1998 - armed uprising begins
May 1999 - soldiers led by General Ansumane Mane topple Vieira
Jan 2000 - Kumba Yala wins civilian elections
20 Nov - Mane proclaims himself army chief-of-staff, heavy fighting erupts in and around Bissau
23 Nov - Mane flees to airbase near capital
"Then the manhunt that had been going on since last week was stepped up in the area of Quinhamel, where it turns out he had been all this time."

The correspondent said General Mane and his entourage, including some officers, were surrounded by an army unit about 50-strong.

"There was shooting for about two minutes, and then silence. The operation was over," he added.

"Ten minutes later they brought out Ansumane Mane's body... to the great jubilation of the local people, who, like former President Nino Vieira are members of the Pepel ethnic group."

General Mane himself belonged to the Mandinga Muslim tribe.

"As far as I know Mane made no attempt to surrender. He died in action," the correspondent said.

Row over promotions

General Mane unilaterally declared himself head of the armed forces when President Kumba Yala announced a number of senior military appointments of which Mr Mane disapproved.

General Mane maintained that the appointments were ethnically based and risked destabilising the country.

The BBC's West Africa correspondent Mark Doyle says General Mane was a key figure in the independence war against Portugal. Since 1975 Guinea-Bissau has had a turbulent ride, ruled by soldiers most of the time.

Human rights groups say the new government has exploited the latest crisis by arresting political opponents.

More than 200 people, including politicians and members of parliament, were arrested after the fighting between government troops and those loyal to General Mane.

Officials said only about 100 soldiers supported General Mane. Guinea-Bissau's armed forces number about 23,000, out of a population of about 1.1 million.

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See also:

26 Nov 00 | Africa
Guinea Bissau arrests 'plotters'
23 Nov 00 | Africa
Fighting in Guinea-Bissau
22 Nov 00 | Africa
Warning over Guinea-Bissau
07 Dec 99 | Africa
Opposition triumph in Bissau vote
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