The Economic Community of West African States has strongly condemned an outbreak of fighting on Friday in Guinea-Bissau, where the situation had returned to calm Saturday.
Clashes between members of the national guard and special forces of the presidential guard broke out Thursday night in the capital Bissau, leaving two dead.
ECOWAS stated in a statement that it “strongly condemns the violence and all attempts to disrupt the constitutional order and rule of law in Guinea-Bissau.
“ECOWAS further calls for the arrest and prosecution of the perpetrators of the incident in accordance with the law.”
Calm returned to the small nation with a history of instability by mid-morning Friday following the announcement that the army had captured Colonel Victor Tchongo, commander of the National Guard.
Members of the national guard Thursday evening stormed a police station to extract Finance Minister Souleiman Seidi and Secretary of the Treasury Antonio Monteiro, according to army and intelligence officers.
The two government members were being questioned about the withdrawal of $10 million from state accounts. They had been detained under orders of state prosecutors, who were named by the president.
The national guard, on the other hand, is under the control of the Interior Ministry, which like most ministries in the country, is dominated by the PAIGC party, whose coalition won the June 2023
The two government members were detained again after the army removed them from National Guard control.
President Umaro Sissoco Embalo, who was elected to a five-year term in December 2019, is in Dubai to attend the COP28 climate conference.
Since gaining independence from Portugal in 1974, Guinea-Bissau has seen a series of coups and coup attempts, the most recent being a failed overthrow in February 2022.