The government of Guinea-Bissau, a small West African country with a troubled political history, was filled with heavy tension on Tuesday afternoon, according to AFP.
The government palace, where President Umaro Sissoco Embalo and Prime Minister Nuno Gomes Nabiam were supposed to meet with ministers, was surrounded by heavily armed men.
The presence of the military around the government palace, not far from the airport, brought a lot of tension. An AFP correspondent reported that an armed man ordered him to move away at gunpoint.
The area around the airport was also filled with people fleeing the scene. Markets emptied and banks closed.
Numerous military vehicles loaded with soldiers drove through the streets.
Guinea-Bissau, a small country of about two million people bordering Senegal and Guinea, is no stranger to political coups. Since its independence from Portugal in 1974 after a long war of liberation, it has seen four putsches (the last in 2012), a string of attempted coups and a succession of governments.
Since 2014, it has moved towards a return to constitutional order, which has not prevented it from repeated turbulence, but without violence.
The country suffers from endemic corruption. It is also considered a hub for cocaine trafficking between Latin America and Europe.
Since the beginning of 2020, Umaro Sissoco Embalo, a former general, has been the head of state, following a presidential election whose result is still disputed by the African Party for the Independence of Guinea and Cape Verde (PAIGC), the dominant party since independence.