July 16, 2005

Gunmen attack Bissau interior ministry, 1 dead-govt

BISSAU (Reuters) - Unidentified gunmen attacked
Guinea-Bissau's interior ministry on Saturday, killing a
policeman and wounding two of his colleagues, a senior security
official said.

Security forces repelled the attack, which took place
shortly before 0600 GMT, and four of the assailants were
arrested, the deputy director of state security told reporters.

"There was an exchange of fire with loyalist forces who
were inside the ministry," Abdu Camara said.

The former Portuguese colony is on edge ahead of a July 24
presidential run-off between Malam Bacai Sanha of the main
PAIGC party and former military ruler Joao Bernardo Vieira.
Clashes between security forces and supporters of another
former army ruler, Kumba Yala, erupted in the capital Bissau
after results from the first round held on June 19 showed he
had come third. Four people were killed.

Yala, who declared himself president in May and was accused
of attempting a coup shortly afterwards, eventually accepted
the results. He denies any involvement in the attempted coup.

Camara said some of the attackers had managed to escape and
that their motives were still unclear.

The interior ministry building is near the presidency in
downtown Bissau. Two suitcases containing about 40,000 euros
($48,360) were taken there after they were confiscated from a
former finance minister, according to officials who did not
want to be named.

The former minister, who is known to support Vieira, was
arrested at Bissau airport on Friday, but was later released,
the sources said.

($1=.8270 Euro)