UPDATE 2-Guinea-Bissau: Portugal behind failed coup bid

Mon Oct 22, 2012 9:34pm GMT

* Attack aimed to return to power deposed PM, says government

* Assailants "came from outside" (Adds comments from Brazil and Cape Verde, paragraphs 11-14)

By Alberto Dabo

BISSAU, Oct 22 (Reuters) - Guinea-Bissau's interim government accused Portugal and other Portuguese-speaking countries of being behind an assault on an air force base, saying it was part of a strategy to return to power the West African nation's exiled former prime minister.

The military of the tiny coup-prone former Portuguese colony repelled the attack near the capital Bissau early on Sunday during a two-hour gun battle that killed six people.

"The attack ... is part of the strategy to bring (ex-prime minister) Carlos Gomes Junior back to Guinea-Bissau, even at the cost of human lives," government spokesman Fernando Vaz said in a statement read on state radio on Sunday night.

"The tone of the speeches given by Portugal, the Community of Portuguese-speaking Countries (CPLP) and Carlos Gomes Junior was the precursor to the attack," he said.

Guinea-Bissau, a transit hub for Latin American cocaine smuggled to Europe, is in the throes of a ragged recovery after the army overthrew the government in April just weeks before a second round presidential vote Gomes Junior was favoured to win.

The junta said Gomes Junior had a secret pact with Angola, which had soldiers deployed in Bissau at the time, to eliminate the military's leadership.   Continued...

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