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Senegal troops for Bissau border

Guinea-Bissau President Joao Bernardo Vieira casts his vote on 16 November
President Vieira has ruled intermittently since 1980

Senegal is sending troop reinforcements to the border with Guinea-Bissau, after the weekend attack on its President Joao Bernardo Vieira.

Senegal's President Abdoulaye Wade has ordered the army to take "all necessary measures" to strengthen the border.

President Vieira was not harmed when mutinous soldiers attacked his residence, shortly after election results were announced.

Guinea-Bissau has had a history of coups and conflict since independence.

A delegation from the regional body Ecowas, led by chairman Mohamed Ibn Chambas and Burkina Faso's Foreign Minister Alain Bedouma Yoda, is visiting Bissau in a "visit of solidarity".

At least five people have been arrested, officials say.

The UN has warned that the country's instability and poverty makes it vulnerable to Latin American drugs traffickers, who are increasingly transporting cocaine to Europe via West Africa.

No-one has the right to massacre the people of Guinea-Bissau in order to steal power by means of the gun
Joao Bernardo Vieira

Some say Guinea-Bissau could become a "narco-state". Politicians and member of the military have been accused of involvement with the drugs trade.

BBC West Africa correspondent Will Ross says the problems that plague Guinea Bissau urgently need to be addressed if there is to be any chance of stability and development.

For years it has been at the foot of the UN's humanitarian index - the poorest of the poor live in Guinea Bissau.

Without reform of the justice ministry and law enforcement in general, the powerful drug cartels will continue to undermine the country, our correspondent says.

The stakes are high not just for the country but also for the region which is itself fragile, he says.

Results 'fabricated'

In a televised address to the nation on Sunday, Mr Vieira said: "These people attacked my residence with a single objective - to physically liquidate me."

"No-one has the right to massacre the people of Guinea-Bissau in order to steal power by means of the gun."

The situation in Bissau is reported to be calm.

Map
Mr Vieira telephoned his Senegalese counterpart early on Sunday morning, to tell him about the attack.

The two countries are close allies.

The Associated Press news agency reports that the president's residence was scarred with bullets after a three-hour gun battle, which left one attacker dead.

The African Union "firmly" condemned the attack and warned against any "attempt to seize power by force".

In New York, a UN statement said: "The Secretary-General has noted with great concern reports of the alleged involvement of elements of the Armed Forces of Guinea-Bissau in the attack, and calls upon them to refrain from any measures that could further destabilise the country."

On Friday, the National Electoral Commission announced that the African Party for the Independence of Guinea-Bissau and Cape Verde (PAIGC) had won 67 of the 100 National Assembly seats.

Opposition leader Koumba Yala, said the results were "fabricated" and said he would never accept them.

His Social Renewal Party (PRS), which won 28 seats, has strong support in the military, correspondents say.

The PAIGC ruled Guinea-Bissau as a one-party state for a quarter century after independence in 1974.

The party allied to the president, the Republican Party for Independence and Development (PRID), won just three seats in the ballot, which was held earlier this month.

Mr Vieira seized power in 1980 but won 2005 elections against Mr Yala.


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SEE ALSO
G-Bissau leader survives attack
23 Nov 08 |  Africa
G Bissau drugs sanctions threat
03 Oct 08 |  Africa
Africa - new front in drugs war
09 Jul 07 |  Africa
Country profile: Guinea-Bissau
14 Aug 08 |  Country profiles
Timeline: Guinea-Bissau
14 Aug 08 |  Country profiles

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