Guinea-Bissau Coup Leaders Say Power Returning to Civilians

Posted May 23rd, 2012 at 3:10 am (UTC-5)
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The leaders of a military coup in Guinea-Bissau say they are handing power to a new transitional government.

A junta spokesman made the announcement Tuesday and said coup leaders would no longer speak publicly to the press.

Meanwhile, the leader of the transitional government, Manuel Serifo Nhamadjo, named 28 government ministers.

The installation of the transitional government had been expected this week with the backing of the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS). The regional bloc has indicated the transition will last about a year.

Last week, ECOWAS began sending soldiers to Guinea-Bissau as part of a 600-member force to restore order after the April 12 coup.

In addition to seizing power, the military also arrested interim President Raimundo Pereira and Prime Minister Carlos Gomes Junior. Both men later fled the country.

Before the coup, Gomes was the frontrunner in a presidential runoff election to replace late president Malam Bacai Sanha.

Guinea-Bissau has endured numerous coups and coup attempts in the past 30 years. It has also become a key transit point for international drug traffickers.