April 13, 2012 / 10:59 AM / in 8 years

TIMELINE-Guinea-Bissau, a country of coups and violence

April 13 (Reuters) - Soldiers in Guinea-Bissau have attacked the residence of former Prime Minister and presidential election front-runner Carlos Gomes Junior in what regional ministers condemned as an attempted coup in the small West African state.

Here is a look at Guinea-Bissau’s often violent past:

- Sept. 10, 1974 - Guinea-Bissau wins independence from Portugal following a liberation war and the collapse of the Portuguese dictatorship. Luis Cabral, brother of liberation ero Amilcar Cabral, who was assassinated in 1973, becomes president.

- Nov. 14, 1980 - Prime Minister Joao Bernardo Vieira overthrows Cabral in a bloodless military coup; military-dominated-revolutionary council takes control.

- Aug. 7, 1994 - Vieira, under foreign pressure to return the country to democracy, calls, and wins, a multi-party presidential election.

- June 7, 1998 - Failed coup attempt by the army led by General Ansumane Mane leads to civil war. Vieira receives military backing from neighbours Senegal and Guinea. Thousands killed.

- May 7, 1999 - A military junta topples Vieira, who flees into exile in Portugal. Malam Bacai Sanha is appointed acting president.

- Nov. 28, 1999 - Kumba Yala, a former philosophy professor, wins presidential election after a transition period from military rule.

- Sept. 14, 2003 - Army seizes power, pledging to restore order after repeated delays to elections. Yala forced to step down.

- July 24, 2005 - Vieira wins election to return as president.

- March 2, 2009 - Vieira killed hours after the killing of the armed forces chief of staff. National Assembly speaker Raimundo Pereira is sworn in a day later as interim head of state.

- June 5 - Three senior politicians killed by military police in what authorities say is a foiled coup plot.

- June 28 - Presidential elections. Malam Bacai Sanha falls short of an outright majority, leading to a run-off vote.

- July 29 - Sanha wins the run-off with 63 percent of the vote, defeating Yala.

- Feb. 9, 2010 - Sanha returns to Guinea-Bissau after two weeks of medical treatment in France. He has a history of problems linked to diabetes.

- April 1-2 - Soldiers briefly detain Prime Minister Carlos Gomes Junior. They free suspected coup leader and former navy chief, Bubo Na Tchuto.

- April 8 - The United States names Bissau Air Force chief of staff Ibraima Papa Camara and Na Tchuto as international drug kingpins.

- Oct. 7/8 - The United States criticises a move by Guinea-Bissau to reinstate navy chief Na Tchuto.

- Dec. 26, 2011 - Fighting erupts between two factions of Guinea Bissau’s armed forces in the capital Bissau, forcing the Prime Minister Gomes Junior to seek refuge in the Angolan embassy.

- Jan. 9, 2012 - Guinea-Bissau President Malam Bacai Sanha dies in Paris. Pereira, the National Assembly speaker, becomes interim president and appeals to all factions to avoid a power struggle before elections.

- Feb. 10 - Adiato Djalo Nandigna is named acting prime minister as Carlos Gomes Junior stands for president in the March elections.

- March 18 - First round of presidential election. Gomes Junior wins 49 percent of the vote, ahead of his main rival, Yala, but just short of the absolute majority needed to avoid a second round.

- March 28 - Bissau’s election commission rejects opposition complaints of fraud during the first-round presidential vote. Yala says he will boycott the second-round run-off, set for April 29, in protest over alleged first-round rigging.

- April 9 - Angola says it is ending its military mission to help modernise the army in Guinea Bissau, as a result of requests from unnamed “sectors” in the smaller country.

- April 12 - Soldiers in Guinea-Bissau attack Gomes Junior’s residence with machine guns and heavy weapons fire. Gomes Junior’s whereabouts or fate remain known. (Reporting by David Cutler; London Editorial Reference Unit; Additional reporting by Alberto Dabo; Editing by Pascal Fletcher and Alessandra Rizzo)

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