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Guinea-Bissau killings raise coup fears

  • Story Highlights
  • Two former allies of Guinea-Bissau's assassinated president killed, military says
  • Military says pair were plotting against government; some fear military plans coup
  • President Vieira assassinated March 2 in attack on presidential palace
  • Former Portuguese colony has a history of military coups
From Umaro Djau
CNN
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(CNN) -- Two high-profile political officials linked to Guinea-Bissau's recently assassinated president were killed Friday, according to a statement from the West African country's interim army chief. The killings raised fears that a military coup may be under way.

Guinea-Bissau Prime Minister Carlos Gomes Jr, left, and interim President Raimundo Pereira are currently out of the country.

Guinea-Bissau Prime Minister Carlos Gomes Jr, left, and interim President Raimundo Pereira are currently out of the country.

The military confirmed the killings of former Defense Minister Helder Proenca and presidential candidate Baciro Dabo, saying the men were killed because they were plotting a coup against the current government.

The military said several members of the ruling party have been arrested on allegations of taking part in the plot, which included a plan to assassinate the current prime minister and the interim president, according to the statement from interim army chief Zamora Induta.

However, the move by the military has raised fears that the military itself is plotting to take over the government, particularly since the arrests and killings took place while Prime Minister Carlos Gomes Jr., interim President Raimundo Pereira, and defense minister Artur Da Silva are out of the country.

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President Joao Bernardo Vieira, 69, was assassinated on March 2 during an attack on the presidential palace. The attack happened a day after Gen. Tagme Na Waie, chief of Guinea-Bissau's military, was killed in a bomb explosion in his office.

The army and Guinea-Bissau's president clashed in the months prior to Vieira's assassination. Guinea-Bissau, a former Portuguese colony, has a history of military coups.

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