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Last Updated: Monday, 12 April, 2004, 10:42 GMT 11:42 UK
Amnesty for Bissau coup-makers
Coup leader General Verissimo Correia Seabre
General Seabre (right) kept his pledge to hold elections
The interim government in Guinea Bissau has approved an amnesty for those who staged the overthrow of President Kumba Yala last year.

Spokesman Joaquim Balde said the amnesty only absolved those involved in the coup last September and did not extend to previous insurrections.

The country has been run by a caretaker regime since the army ousted Mr Yala.

Armed forces chief Verissimo Seabra Correia, who led the coup, said that military intervention in domestic affairs was necessary in order to rid the country of an incompetent government.

He kept his pledge to hold elections within six months.

The cases of those implicated in earlier coups will be examined by a new authority to be set up after polls in March.

Relinquish

The National Transitional Council (CNT) on Friday unanimously adopted a bill amnestying those involved in the bloodless putsch.

"The CNT is not an appropriate framework within which to decide on cases prior to September 2003," said Mr Balde.

The CNT will relinquish its position to the new parliament as soon as the definitive results of the March poll are announced.

The African Party for the Independence of Guinea-Bissau and Cape Verde (PAIGC), which led the country for a quarter-century after independence in 1974, gained the most seats in the parliamentary election.

Mr Yala's Social Renewal Party (PRS) finished second.




SEE ALSO:
Ex-rulers win Guinea-Bissau poll
05 Apr 04  |  Africa
Guinea-Bissau 'back to normal'
15 Sep 03  |  Africa
Q&A: Guinea-Bissau coup
14 Sep 03  |  Africa
Country profile: Guinea-Bissau
04 Sep 01  |  Country profiles
Timeline: Guinea-Bissau
25 Jul 01  |  Africa


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